Live: Comicbook Writer. Daniel Johnston, Union Chapel.

The sky a becoming azure shade and the intense foliage of Islington inundating the place, it's irrevocably springtime and to adulterate the ageless prose of DuBose Heyward, 'the livin' is easy'. It is too ameliorated further by a rare visit from manic-depressive, maniacally genius Texan Daniel Johnston, whose Waller roots tonight wriggle into the essence of artefact aficionados British Sea Power.

Branded the Texan Sea Power for one night only (and later perhaps unintentionally erroneously by Johnston as the "Texan Sea Lions"), they open up the evening with an acoustic set that sees the boys and girl from beside the seaside seemingly unwilling to play to their strengths. Devoid of mildly deranged, more often than not helmeted guitarist Noble, although the set which climaxes with an elaborate, au naturel take on Carrion remains indubitably dignified it's certainly a little lacking. Abi Fry's emotive swathes of viola accentuate the homely organicity of the troupe's work although perhaps that they're here playing second fiddle allows a little too much languor to seep into this Sunday early evening.

The hordes then depart for a swift tipple on the porch of this one of many magnificent Houses of the Lord, before slithering back along the ligneous pews upon which jilted jackets were previously sprawled, fidgeting anxiously. Unquestionably it's his cult status that keeps Daniel Johnston alive artistically and it consequently seems deeply oxymoronic that this childlike yet demonically troubled visionary may bring such unfiltered joy to the lives of quite so many. As he emerges he's greeted almost as though a deity once lost yet now found, coaxed out into the warm and rapturous embrace of this sacred yet more pertinently sold out space.

In sweatpants and propelled by a rush of Sprite to the head, Johnston too is in slightly lethargic mood. "Here's some songs for ya" he initially affirms, prior to issuing his concise stream of cathartic self-loathing. Initially only accompanied by that bizarre minuscule guitar of his, he fumbles a little through opener Lost In My Infinite Memory, jangling and yanking the thing as though some novice mechanic scrabbling about inexpertly beneath the bonnet of extortionate automobile. "Hi, how are you today?" he quizzes via the medium of that inimitably innocent lisp. In reality, although a little raw we're incontestably much better off than we were a minute or two ago, left suspended in desirous impatience. There is a Sense of Humor Way Beyond Friendship tinkers dangerously with this rickety precariousness, the sound yet more unsound still and although he suggests: "You could use some help" it's he who gets by substantially more successfully with a little help from his friends, the so-called "Texan Sea Lions". Whilst such designation may sound like some [INSERT INCOMPREHENSIBLE AMERICAN SPORT HERE] team Hamilton, Yan et al. couldn't look more antithetical in impression as they swoon onstage in Holmesian trenches and ruffled haircuts.

Quite how pally they are with Johnston is inconclusive: there are a few tetchy moments involving misplaced lyrics and false starts at which the brothers Wilkinson grimace and as they come in too vigorously for his liking on a cover of his beloved Beatles' Hide Your Love Away he appears gently vexed, perhaps given his undying adoration for Merseyside's finest export. Similarly, how much time "the band" have been afforded to get to grips with Johnston's scatty sketches of material remains unknown although the expert adroitness with which they pick up his work is plain for all to see, so much so that the glorious sway of Love Enchanted could quite conceivably be a BSP track given its mystifyingly proficient delivery. That it's rendered quite so hi-fi too furthers the feat. "As the crowd would cheer me on/ I knew the face of death smiling back" he twitches and spits almost rancourously although the knee-patting, heel-clacking disciples he plays before beam back pure vim and vivacity rather than the gelid glare of the grimmest of reapers. From the jejune ebullience of the excellent Mountain Top to the stop-start splutter of Speeding Motorcycle on which Johnston rabidly throttles his microphone, he's at his best when the band are in the full swing o' things. The oddball jam of Casper, The Friendly Ghost (an outrĂ© ode to his "favourite cartoon character") on which the backing is impulsive and almost improvisational is shadowed by Don't Let the Sun Go Down On Your Grievances, Hamilton's MircoKorg organ simulation odd and off-kilter yet excellently paradoxical given such surrounds.

The most peculiar instance precedes an ambling rendition of Walking the Cow as he regales us with a scripted recount of a suicidal dream supposedly experienced the night before. If contemporaries may have once laughed at Johnston, tonight we largely laugh with him although this exposure of a deep-seated 'issue' is quite disconcerting and derails what is largely a joyous occasion. His burning desire to profess his love for his "favourite rock group, The Beatles" sees positivity again replace that niggling sense of negativity, whilst despite its morbid connotations Funeral Home is transmuted in the unorthodox singalong of the year thus far. The childish sentiments of Rock 'n' Roll EGA craftily contradict the genre itself and, lacking its usual crunch it does so sonically too. Given the warped morality stereotypically located innately within rock 'n' roll, Union Chapel also serves to conflict with Johnston's unabashed glorification of it although his soul seems purer than most and his heart's unquestionably in the right place, despite this penchant for the unholiest of genres.

He returns for an a capella interpretation of Devil Town, the track which most evidently exhibits his secondary infatuation: comic strips. And as he then hurries through the timeless True Love Will Find You in the End, his set is concluded in a flicker swifter than it takes for most gum-fingered comic book guys to thumb through the luminous hues of some latest edition. Whilst he could have stuck around a little while longer, Daniel Johnston Is and Always Was a testament to Texas.