"I've had some physical problems over the last couple of years, and have been thinking about giving up the live shows. So this may be the last time I play here...even though it's the first time."
I first encountered Lloyd Cole, as did many my age, following rave reviews of first single 'Perfect Skin' and debut album 'Rattlesnakes'
So I dragged myself out to to see how kind the years had been. I wasn't filled with high expectations, as I'd decided to rediscover Rattlesnakes a few months back, and found it trying to be too American and overfull of 'shoehorned in' literary references.
He was utterly fabulous, however ,and held the audience spellbound for the duration of the with show. There was a first half made up of the songs that he wanted to play, new beautifully constructed melodic acoustic songs full of sharp observations and poetic lyrics. and a second half of songs that he knew we wanted to hear. The gig was just him and his guitar (well, two guitars, but he only played one at a time). He played and sang beautifully, did a joke about Alice Cooper and menstruation AND did a Tom Waits impression. What else do you need from a night out?
His between show banter was gentle self deprecating humour, making light of playing in a theatre "..more empty than full " (there were about seventy people there). He came across as a genuinely lovely man, making ongoing observations about how his audience had changed, and was now comprised of couples. And how of these pairs there was perhaps one half that, perhaps, didn't want to be there. He made a point of thanking these honourable souls.
I heard one of the girlfriends or wives that had been dragged along say to her spouse "Well, that was MUCH better than I expected!". High praise indeed.
It was great to hear 'Forest Fire', Perfect Skin' and 'Are You Ready To Be Heartbroken' again. Hearing them played live I forgot my recent prejudice and was bowled over, but, and here's a first for a gig, I was more interested in the new stuff I'd not heard before. I shall be Internet shopping his recent back catalogue this weekend,
I was inspired to pick up my guitar when I returned home and clumsily played some chords I've written a song. It's called 'Hey Camera Obscura, Nice Try, But Lloyd's a Class Act'