When I got to my (birthday present) seat (D3) and spotted a brace of guitars, a brace of amps, a brace of spotlights and sweet shag all else, my initial thought was “oh… this is definitely not Lloyd Cole and Commotions… this is not Lloyd Cole-and-the-band-that-doesn’t-get-to-be-named either, this is an-audience-with-Lloyd-Cole-a-man-and-his-guitar-and-shag-all-else”
My second thought was… “can he pull it off?”
I shouldn’t have doubted the man.
Jayzus. A master class if I ever saw one.
A man. And his guitar. And shag all else. And an audience in the palm of his hand for almost two hours (with a bit of a refuelling stop for the heckler around the hour mark).
I was most impressed. And I need in advance to apologise to all bass guitarists and drummers out there.
But that stripped down set was so incredibly effective.
In the absence of any peripheral interference, the lyrics truly came to the fore.
Each song delivering a new chapter in the life of a turn-of-the-millennium-troubadour . Tales of loneliness on the road, middle-age realisations, long-term relationships breakdowns, mostly controlled alcoholism, random encounters and recurring melancholy.
With intermissions for retuning the guitar, and gems of humour and light-hearted cynicism.
I was most impressed by Mr. Cole as a subtle and gifted guitarist and consistently in-tune, powerful and captivating vocalist.
Following the okay-ish after-taste of the Jasyzus-and-Mary-and-Joseph-Ball-and-Chains gig last month, it was good to see that the excitement of 30 years ago can be recaptured.
Different. Matured. Reflective. Yet exciting. Still.