Lloyd Cole – Vicar St, Dublin – Gig Review by Killian Laher – 26-08-16
Lloyd Cole was always a kind of nearly man. Best remembered as frontman of Lloyd Cole and the Commotions, he was adored by critics and those with a discerning ear, yet never quite made the leap to public consciousness, or indeed, actual success. Tonight he was focusing on anything written pre-1996 (i.e. the entire Commotions repertoire plus his first four solo albums) because, as he put it “Universal music discovered that he was not dead”, so this tour was essentially to promote box sets of his older material “pre-divorce from Universal”.
Cole stands upright to deliver his songs on acoustic guitar in a stern, almost schoolmasterly fashion. He opened with a pleasant rendition of Prince’s Sometimes It Snows In April, and in common with many of his covers it narrowly misses the mark. Only narrowly, mind, the audience enjoyed this and his confident run through of Charlotte Street, So You’d Like To Save The World, Downtown and a great version of “the oldest song of the night” – Patience. Latecomers were addressed by the man himself, reassured that they had “only missed Rattlesnakes”. Cole questioned whether he was too old to sing Jennifer She Said but the crowd disagreed, the song getting a great response. He did, however, call a halt to the song to stop the crowd from turning it into an inappropriate clap-along.
After a brief interval he was joined by his son Will, who belied a pouty exterior to showcase some fine guitar skills. His presence (and possibly alcohol) upped the rowdiness of the crowd but no better man than Lloyd Cole to put them in their place with an occasional withering put down, or just plainly ignoring them. With his son joining him they played fine, lush versions of Are You Ready To Be Heartbroken, Like Lovers Do and Cut Me Down. After the inevitable Lost Weekend, they returned for a brief encore, finishing with Forest Fire which has become a signature song for Lloyd Cole.
In the eyes of many, Lloyd Cole is a not exactly a has-been, more a ‘never-quite-was’. However for those who enjoy clever, wordy guitar songs, he delivered a fine set and left the large crowd delighted. A rare artist, who satisfied those out for pure nostalgia while also providing an evening of musical worth.