City Recital Hall, Sydney
Sunday January 15, 2017 :
Looking less like a born again, and quite possibly living like a heretic, Lloyd Cole walks on stage with an unassuming swagger, reaches for his guitar and opens his show with ‘Patience’… “Patience is a girl that I hate to love the way I do, but I do“… and so begins a waxing lyrical of acute life observations concisely penned by a master wordsmith.
The City Recital Hall provided the appropriate ambience for Cole to showcase his impressive back catalogue. The singer songwriter making his presence felt in the mid eighties with his band of Commotions releasing Rattlesnakes in 1984 through to solo offerings including Don’t Get Weird on Me Babe – define the tone for his latest tour. A memorable, intricate and evocative set off songs which resonate as clearly today as they did twenty or so years back.
Aware of the passing of time, Cole joked with his mostly middle aged audience that they too, were looking ‘older’, as he stepped back in time and clearly reminded us that good songwriting is a rare and special gift to be coveted and celebrated.
Cole is a story teller – evoking names, places, situations and circumstance reflecting modern times. He twists and turns phrases, integrating puns with a keen sense of observation of the ordinary, the day to day, revealing his intrinsic interest in popular culture, influencers, trends and times. His wicked sense of cynicism bleeds through as his poetry unfolds, exposing characters making their way through love, loss, rejection, failure, success and self awareness.
His quiet banter on stage was refreshingly light – self deprecating and funny. His sense of irony is innate in both his lyric content and his dialogue on stage. His solo work was mixed with his better known work and made for a well conceived set for those familiar with his entire body of work as well as the die-hard fans of his “early work”. This was elevated when he was joined on stage in the second half of the performance by his son William on guitar. An obvious resemblance to the brooding imagery used to promote Cole in the eighties – William brought a new layer of intricate guitar prowess to the stage. The Recital Hall confirming it is the premier venue to indulge acoustics in Sydney. Together father and son were faultless – completely musically insync .
If it is an appreciation for great writing, intelligent and layered observation expressed by a rare singer songwriter with a unique vocal quality, musicality and turn of phrase or just a lost weekend in Amsterdam, Lloyd Coles retrospective tour delivers on all fronts.
Reviewer : Paul Clark
Photographer : Richard Hedger