Gig review: Lloyd Cole

Lloyd Cole. Picture: Contributed
Lloyd Cole. Picture: Contributed
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“NOW here’s a funny thing,” muttered Lloyd Cole in fatigued tones, “I’m 53 and here I am still singing songs I wrote when I was 27. And I find myself sympathising more with the characters in the songs than the 27-year-old who wrote them.”

Lloyd Cole - Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh


It’s not unusual to hear Cole sounding world-weary on an Edinburgh stage – in fact, the last time he was here, three years ago, the English-born, Glasgow-educated, Massachusetts-based Cole speculated it might have been his last appearance in the city, given the long travelling times.

Yet that was before his most recent album Standards gave him, if not overwhelming commercial success, then certainly his most well-reviewed and widely purchased new album in nearly two decades.

An uncharacteristic full-band affair featuring Joan Wasser of Joan As Police Woman among its credits, the record’s arrangement wasn’t repeated here. Only Cole stood before us, with a couple of acoustic guitars to choose from and a bottle of water on the table alongside them. But his two-act plus encore set was lengthy, with more than two dozen songs in a little over two hours, and journeyed from Standards right back to his Commotions days.

Inevitably the stripped-back setting also served to level off the musical tone of a career which has achieved a wonderful variety, although Cole’s ability as a lyricist was re-emphasised, from embittered romantic’s anthems like Pay For It, Music in a Foreign Language and recent single Period Piece, to Commotions-era fan favourites such as Jennifer She Said, Perfect Skin and Lost Weekend. He added a cheeky coda of Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run to blue collar anthem Hey Rusty, covered Dylan’s I Threw It All Away and impudently advised his communicative fans to date his songs by the number of times the word “babe” or “baby” appeared therein.

Seen on 05.04.14