Saturday, 5 April 2014

Lloyd Cole

Lloyd Cole - solo acoustic performance Sat 05th April 2014 at The Queen's Hall

The former Newington and St Leonard’s Church opened as the Queen’s Hall in 1979 and has become one of Edinburgh’s better venues almost by default – everywhere else with a decent musical hinterland has been redeveloped or shut down. You’re more likely to be listening to an artist in hushed silence than throwing yourself about in a moshpit – but for punters of a certain age going to see performers of a certain age, it cannot be beaten: it’s atmospheric and intimate. 
Picture courtesy of The Queens Hall

At about 20:10 Lloyd took the stage to much applause. No band to back him, just Cole stood before us in black jeans and a black velvet jacket. He had a two acoustic guitars and a bottle of water on the table beside the microphone. 
Without any fuss, and few words, he launched straight into Past Imperfect, followed by Rattlesnakes and Kids Today. 
At this point a late arriving group taking their seats at the front of the hall were greeted by Lloyd with "Welcome! Don't worry, you haven't missed much - just Rattlesnakes" :-)

“Now here’s a funny thing,” he said in a bout of self-analysis,“I’m 53 and here I am still singing songs I wrote when I was 27. And I find myself sympathising more with the characters in the songs than the 27-year-old who wrote them.” 

This year marks 30 years (30 years!) since the release of his classic album Rattlesnakes, and Cole still loves playing the oldies from across his 12 album back catalogue.
“Singing these songs makes me feel like the guy I was in my late twenties,” he says. “Only when I look in the mirror or run upstairs do I realise my actual age"

Picture courtesy of The Queens Hall
 His two-act plus encore set was extensive, with more than two dozen songs in a little over two hours, and covered the period from his most recent album, Standards (2013), right back to his Commotions days.

There were some nice touches - he suggested to his fans that they could probably date his songs from the number of times the words “babe” or “baby” were used, and added a few bars of Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run to the end of Hey Rusty. He also covered Dylan’s I Threw It All Away in the encore.
At one point the enthusiastic audience began clapping along to one song, but badly out of sync - Lloyd told them "sing along by all means, but don't clap - you're all rubbish!"

---- Set 1 ----
Past Imperfect 
Kids Today 
Cut Me Down 
Why I Love Country Music 
Can't Get Arrested 
Late Night, Early Town 
Don't Look Back 
My Other Life 
Myrtle And Rose 
No more love songs
Perfect Blue

---- Set 2 ----
Are You Ready To Be Heartbroken? 
It's Late 
Pay For It
Music In A Foreign Language
Blue Like Mars
No Blue Skies 
Jennifer She Said
Why in the World?
Period Piece 
Hey Rusty 
Perfect skin 
Unhappy song
Lost weekend 

-- Encore ---
Threw it all away
Forest fire 

Picture courtesy of The Queens Hall
The stripped back acoustic set emphasised the quality of his lyrical legacy and the changing styles with slightly bitter love songs like Period Piece, Music in a Foreign Language and Pay For It, all the way to Commotions classics such as Jennifer She Said, Perfect Skin and Lost Weekend. 
Excellent gig..... but I was left with the nagging question, how it would have sounded with a full band?


  1. Good write-up. Offspring commitments meant I had to choose between this gig or British Sea Power the following night......and chose the latter.

    1. It was a surprisingly good gig and well packed out. Lloyd came across as quite humorous and his songs work well in an acoustic only setting. The sound was really good, so the lyrics were easily listenable. Just read your BSP write up - they have slipped below my radar thus far, but I will do some YT research

    2. I can only suggest the number of bands which slip below your radar must be few and far between. I am having quite a (long overdue) education on the contemporary Scots music scene via here and TIMJ.

    3. Ah I wish - so many bands, so little time :-)