LONDON GUITAR ACADEMY GIG REVIEW – NICK LOWE
Nick Lowe is currently on a short European tour (dates in Scandinavia and the UK) leading up to his appearance at the Hop Farm Festival on 4-6 July. On his London dates at the Union Chapel there were guest spots for John Paul Jones and Geraint Watkins but your London Guitar Academy reviewer Paul Wood caught his earlier solo show at the Warwick Arts Centre.
The Warwick Arts Centre show had a reasonable crowd in an intimate seated setting which was perfectly suited to Nick Lowe’s on-stage persona – an easy style and self-deprecating sense of humour combined with a set of excellent songs in his more recent country soul flavoured leanings.
Although he was backed by a small band (including Geraint Watkins) on his previous UK tour, the current set and show didn’t suffer from the solo acoustic setting. With most of the material coming from more recent albums (“The Impossible Bird onwards), it’s perfectly suited to this format – Nick was in fine vocal form and has the confidence (not to mention the stunning back catalogue of songs) to slide through the set with ease.
Highlights from the set included “Stoplight Roses” (from “The Old Magic”), “Time I Took A Holiday” (from Dig My Mood”), “Long Limbed Girl” (from “At My Age”) along with “Lately I’ve Let Things Slide” and “Has She Got A Friend” (from “The Convincer”)
Here’s Nick doing “Lately I’ve Let Things Slide” on Jools Holland’s Later…
And the promo video for “Sensitive Man (from “The Old Magic”)”:
The set included a nod to his earlier “popstar” phase with a few songs associated with his team up with Dave Edmunds in Rockpile – including both “Cruel To Be Kind” and “I Knew The Bride”. According to Nick, and much to his expressed surprise, Rockpile hold an almost revered status as a rock band in Scandinavia, where he had just been touring.
There was also an outing for the much covered “I Live On A Battlefield”(from “The Impossible Bird”) – complete with a story of how veteran record producer Peter Asher had persuaded Diana Ross to do a cover version – “not necessarily her finest moment” according to Nick “but at least it paid for my bathroom”.
Here’s the Nick Lowe version:
The well deserved encores included what is probably his most commercially successful song “What’s So Funny About Peace Love and Understanding” (with plenty of covers including Elvis Costello) and (in a rather neat twist), the final song was a cover of Elvis Costello’s “Alison” (which appeared on the Elvis Costello debut album “My Aim Is True” – which Nick Lowe produced).
In a recent Australian TV interview (2012) Nick Lowe discusses (and plays) “What’s So Funny About Peace Love And Understanding”:
If you see Nick Lowe is coming to a venue near you – go see him, it’s a quality set all the way from start to finish!
Blasts from the past
Here’s the original Nick Lowe promo video for “Cruel To Be Kind”:
and “I Knew The Bride”: