Music review: Lloyd Cole, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

An acoustic deep-dive into Lloyd Cole’s back catalogue demonstrated the timeless class of his songwriting, writes Fiona Shepherd

Lloyd Cole PIC: Paul Shoul

Lloyd Cole, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall ****

Like his fellow temporarily unemployed live performers, Lloyd Cole has waited two years to bring his From Rattlesnakes to Guesswork tour to his former home town, tracing an elegant, eloquent curve from Lloyd Cole & the Commotions’ classic debut up to his most recent solo album, on which he collaborated with former Commotions Neil Clark and Blair Cowan for the first time since the band split in 1987.

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There is never a bad time to hear Cole’s back catalogue, which remains in limber shape, much like his voice. Across two fully acoustic sets, he demonstrated the timeless class of his songwriting and commanded this formal hall with much the same absorbing manner which Kris Kristofferson or Loudon Wainwright have displayed in the past. Cole also has the advantage of being an adopted Glaswegian, his worldly erudition cultivated over cappuccinos in streets not far from this venue.

“I wrote my dissertation on the barstools of your neighbourhood,” he sang on the wry Women’s Studies, a gem from his 2013 Standards album. This was Cole flirting with Commotions territory once again, allowing himself some nostalgic latitude. Later, he threw in a hometown nod – “she’s sexually enlightened in the Rock Garden” – to the lyrics of debut Commotions’ hit Perfect Skin.

A first half hour of solo Cole yielded old friends Rattlesnakes and Patience and another Standards standard, Kids Today, before his Commotions cohort Neil Clark added six more strings, facilitated brazen flirtation with the art of the song medley and produced some lovely, dexterous trills to Night Sweats, in lieu of the electronica backdrop and wah-wah solo of the recorded version on Guesswork.

By this point, the audience were loosened up and emboldened, with Cole receiving certain offers which suggested Glasgow was ready to be heartbroken all over again.