GIG: Nick Lowe
DATE: Monday 21st June 2010
VENUE: The Stables, Wavendon, Milton Keynes, Bucks
RATING: Definitely the Jesus of Cool
(Sorry folks - no pics as sitting in the front row after the announcement "no photography" would have been plain stupid!)
In 1977, at the height of the punk wars, a strange record started to be heard floating through the airwaves. The Beeb liked “I Love The Sound Of Broken Glass” so much he went out and bought the album…Nick Lowe’s “Jesus Of Cool.”
“ILTSOBG” was so different from the rest of the album. “Broken Glass” was a bit of an oddity, the album was jam-packed with sparkling songs with great hooks and brilliant harmonies, all destined to be smash hits. Except they weren’t!
30 odd years later and Nick Lowe is still writing classic 3 minute pop songs. Big fan that the Beeb is, he’s never seen Nick do a show under his own name, and that is why we are at The Stables tonight.
First up was Geraint Watkins, Nick’s keyboard player for the band. He literally stumbled on stage, tripping over something as he wandered on to play. Then he sat at the keyboard for a minute or two thumbing his way through an old book. This could have been annoying, but it was actually quite funny. It set the tone for what was to be a wonderfully laid back performance by a master of his art.
When he played, he played in a great New Orleans Jazz/R&B style. When he sang, all the way through there was a low, guttural growl underlying what was really a lovely singing voice. Minty thought he looked like he could be the elder brother of Daniel Craig.
He was joined by Martin Winning on a smokey and sultry sax (which looked like it had never seen Brasso in its life!), and the two of them together built a picture of what it must have been like to sit ‘til the wee small hours in a Jazz club in the 40’s. Occasionally, Martin would swap the sax for a clarinet and tease some wonderful music from it. They finished off with a powerful Johnny B Goode. We’ll definitely be looking for his latest album now.
After a short break, Nick wandered onto the stage looking rather like a white haired Eric Morecambe. We were treated to three solo acoustic numbers, including “Heart” before the band joined him.
Nick explained that this show was a rehearsal for his upcoming Glastonbury gig before going on to wow us with a selection of songs from one of the best catalogues anyone in the UK has ever produced.
Highlights included, “I Trained Her To Love Me,” “Love Is A Battlefield” and “You Inspire Me.” When someone asked for “Breaking Glass,” Nick said he was doing us a favour NOT doing it because it was “a rubbish song, but a great record.”
The hits were there though. “Cruel To Be Kind,” proved itself to be a real crowd pleaser. “I Knew The Bride,” and a lovely version of “Peace, Love and Understanding” slowed right down, finished the set on a real high.
For the encore he said he didn’t know whether to do “All Men Are Liars” or “The Beast In Me.” He did them both of course.
Geraint’s light shone again when he did his own song, “Only A Rose,” before the final song, Rockpile’s “When I Write The Book.”
The sound was mixed really well, and we could hear every instrument, although the organ Geraint played could have been just a tad louder. Minty loved the fact that the band included a double bass, as some of the rockabilly styles tunes were really complemented with the slapping of said instrument!
It may have taken a while to see Nick on his own, but it was certainly well worth the wait. Oh, and “I Love The Sound Of Breaking Glass” IS a great song!