Theatre London Guide Review: My Week Beats Your Year

The influence of Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground in the UK was and is huge – and possibly far greater proportionately than in the US, where initially it seemed that anything new in popular music in the late 60s was viewed as suspect or foreign unless it came out of Tin Pan Alley or Harlem. But over here, generation after generation heard the clarion call to arms, to celebrate a wild side that, for most, could exist only in our imaginations, and vividly so. Kids in the early 70s were a select breed of converts, of which Roy Moller was one. He grew up to be a guitarist and singer-songwriter – what else? – and, as we learn from this read-through of his new musical about Lou, the spark’s still burning. In flowing couplets Moller tells of his impassioned and frequently funny road trip of growing up in Leith, curious about the musical phenomenon happening over on the grittier side of the water. There’s the thrill of discovering Lou’s records, his UK gigs – and the strange sensation that London was far away as Manhattan – and, like something out of Herman Hesse, Moller finds a new revelation in Lou’s legacy with every step he takes in his own life. The songs themselves are catchy, alternately driving/sweet songs about Lou, Leith and Life – funny yet passionate, with unexpected turns of phrase that surprise and get you thinking. In homage to his hero, Moller even finds that majestic irony in Lou’s dark heroin days and his own nostalgia. At his side is Antifolk supremo Lach, who brings his own experience of that NYC otherworld to inspired guitar and vocal accompaniment - and a range of strange sound effects. On a couple of wonderfully laconic songs he sings lead, his clear tones making an evocative counterpoint for Moller’s gruffer vocals. There’s immense touring potential for My Week Beats Your Year, whether as an intimate song cycle or a fully fledged stage show along the lines of Taboo.  Nick Awde, August 2014.