In the 1980’s I was a big fan of Lloyd Cole and I bought his albums and singles. I don’t remember if I ever saw either him, or him and his band, the Commotions, play though. A week and a half ago I was on day-release in a nearby town and I noticed a poster advertising that he was playing at a nearby arts centre. I phoned up immediately on my return only to discover it was sold out and I could only get onto the waiting list in fifth place.
I rang up late last week but there had been no movement and I was still fifth. You’re ahead of me though. What would be the point of writing about a concert I desperately wanted to see and didn’t? Not much right. So, walking through the rain to try to get to Chili-fest in Shoreham in another day-release I got a phone-call from the arts centre saying that there was a ticket available an did I want it? Too right, and I stood in the rain to do the transaction there and then. In parenthesis We didn’t make the Chili-fest due to being soaked through as a result of the rain and had to seek refuge in a place of hospitality.
I arrived at the venue to get my ticket and a drink to see the man himself front of house talking to the person selling his CDs. After a short while the doors opened and we coul enter the venue. I was struck at the smallness of the hall, which hopefully is visible from the picture taken from the front with my back to the stage.
It wasn’t much after the advertised start time that they took to the stage to play the first set. After a couple of numbers Lloyd Cole mentioned that his accompanist, and also his son, Will had said he was nervous and as a result that he, Lloyd Cole felt nervous too. The set was a mixture of older songs as well as those from his recent album and was warmly received by the audience.
At what Lloyd Cole called the intermission I searched out the toilet only to find a queue for the Gents. What’s the World coming to? The bar was well staffed and you got served quickly. The break was little more than twenty minutes and on their return something that was said from the stage gave a hint that this was something of a concert near a place where family live. Later Will called for an Uncle to hackle them. Something that struck me during the second set was how many of the songs from the 80’s when he was first having hits featured very strongly the sound of an acoustic guitar, even if they were played on electric guitars and backed by a full band. They core sound was the strumming of a guitar and the impression you were left with from the songs was that they featured the guitar centrally. In parenthesis I listened to his greatest hits album which reminded me also about the role the accordion played in the music at the beginning, something which was not really fashionable at the time.
Something else which struck me whilst listening was the strength of Lloyd Cole’s voice. I hadn’t really noticed it so much before. Of course it could be that in a more spartan setting it was easier to hear it. Having re-listened to previous stuff I noticed it on those songs too so I am surprised that I never picked it up before. One other thing I noticed was that Lloyd Cole adopted a particular pose when drinking water, which he did after almost every song, leaning back, with his foot at a 45° angle to the ground as shown in the fourth picture.
So, a bit of luck meant I got to see Lloyd Cole play in such an intimate venue and as a result I had a corker of a Saturday night.