REVIEWSis this music? August 18 2008
Edinburgh in festival season is no joke. Severe flooding compounded by a ticketing system usually preceded by the word ‘meltdown’ make for me missing the first 15 minutes of Hibbett’s show. Which is a pity as it’s in a lecture format (complete with old-school Powerpoint presentation). It may be that I’ve missed crucial but less glamourous segments about the initial struggle of a band, but arriving in time for section titles such as ‘The Hit’ and ‘My Drugs Hell’ suggest that the important knowledge for a ‘life in rock’ is still to come.
So there’s enough unveiled to be a useful exercise. MJ (Mark to his friends) offers salient advice, such as advising avoidance of gigs in teahouses, lest you wake up naked in a hotel corridor. Much of the advice is doled via the medium of song, so we learn the ‘Lesson of the Smiths’, and how to ‘Do The Indie Kid’, but the information of most value is that from the top of the tree of Rock. Thus, Hibbett relays some rock star wisdom from John Otway on the after-gig behaviour most likely to result in adulation and free booze. However, Hibbett is no slouch in the cult success realm himself, as the 2 million downloads that ‘Hey Hey 16K’ generated prove, and a Radio One session is self-effacingly brushed off as Steve Lamacq’s revenge on the station. Of course like any good Rock career the fade or burn comes swiftly and the ‘Cover Version’ signals this, so MJ’s appearance just ahead of Echo and the Bunnymen at David Cameron’s favourite festival heralds what may be the peak but also the close of the show, via his ukelele version of ‘Boom Boom Shake The Room’. It’s riotously funny and is just what the Edinburgh Fringe needs.
The Herald, August 7 2008
From innocent scouting adventures to arriving at reception in a Glasgow hotel naked, hungover and needing a new pass card, M J Hibbett covers quite a lot of ground in this breathless account of how his biography as a rock star got his editor sacked and became a Fringe show.
Along the way, with mirthful, no-holds-barred musical illustrations, he courts international success in New York and achieves notoriety in Norway with a hit song about the Sinclair ZX Spectrum computer, the air-punching Hey Hey 16K.
Hibbett, whose band the Validators have had an "album of the year" accolade from Rolling Stone and can count their downloads in the millions, makes an hour in his company pass very quickly, and all the faster for his transference of DJ Jazzy Jeff's Boom! Shake the Room into a ukulele number.
Star rating ***
ThreeWeeks, August 7 2008
MJ Hibbett, anti genius of modern music and geek-adored hero of the underdog, brings his unique brand of comedic storytelling to the Medina nightclub. Told through music and self-deprecating monologue, Hibbett recounts his experiences of the music industry in his version of the alternative rock biography. From crap gigs to adoring ZX Spectrum fans he weaves his tongue-in-cheek recollections with natural confidence, interspersed with his own classic tunes. He is a master of the comic pop song, giving us such gems as 'Do The Indy Kid' and his download hit 'Hey Hey 16K', this is an enjoyable peek at the rock and roll lifestyle viewed from the other side. An hour well spent.
tw rating: 3/5
Fire Escape Talking, July 2 2008
Last night, music connoisseurs were given a new metonym to add to Rock’s Pantheon. Up there with John “Dr Winston O’Boogie” Lennon, James “The Hardest Working Man In Showbusiness” Brown, Elton “Cockfarmer” John and James “****” Blunt, we now have MJ “Professional Competent Rockin’ And Tight” Hibbett.
During a dress rehearsal for his Edinburgh Festival Larf Riot, My Exciting Life In Rock, in the upstairs of a Bloomsbury pub, MJ took an adoring crowd through the tears, the laughter, the drugs (well, half an E in 1994), the noise made by pissing in a stainless steel sink while locked out of your hotel room buck naked (the music of the future, quite possibly) and having his International Hit sung by Norwegian school children.
Afterwards – there was an encore as, obv, the crowd called out for more – MJ gave everyone a badge, a CD and, if they didn’t escape quickly enough, a MANLY HUG. Phew! It was ACE.