Thursday, July 2, 2015

Recording: Lloyd Cole

Artist: Lloyd Cole

Songs: Kids Today + Late Night, Early Town + Impossible Girl/Lost Weekend

Recorded at The Great Hall, June 18, 2015.

Lloyd Cole - Kids Today

Lloyd Cole - Late Night, Early Town

Lloyd Cole - Impossible Girl + Lost Weekend

With the city's venues filling up with buzz-chasers at a big local corporate rock fest, I decided to do the other thing, and went to see Lloyd Cole — someone who's never been one of my top-shelf favourites, but someone whose works I've consistently admired for two decades now. With all the hype for this and that at the corporate rock fest, I wondered if there'd be anyone left to go to this — the official facebook event listed precisely three attendees — but I was rather pleased to see a robust crowd filling the chairs on the Great Hall's floor. A reminder, I guess, that there's more than one crowd of people looking for rock gigs.

Given the electricity of his latest album, I was a little bemusedly surprised to see that this "evening" with Cole was to be an all-acoustic affair, just one man and his guitar for two sets, plowing through a pretty large number of songs from all stages of his career, mixing new ones with favourites from the Commotions and his 90's solo peak.

Although he took pains to warn the audience in advance about the high notes he could no longer reach, he was in great voice and the audience was pretty quiet for what was probably the lowest-volume show I've ever seen in the Great Hall. (This would have totally slayed down the street in the basement of the Drake, but considering how the voluminous space of the Great Hall can eat quiet performances like this the sound was rather well-handled.)

Cole was cheerful throughout on stage, telling stories as he put on his glasses to tune between songs and sending shout-outs to the significant others who got dragged out by more ardent fans. Experiencing the sweep of the songs all together gave a chance to see Cole's lyrical/life standpoint slowly shift, and see his present self (much more sympathetic to some of his past protagonists) react to the words of the cynical young know-it-all who wrote them. Someday we'll all live in our former cautionary tales.

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