For a guy who once emphatically stated “Don’t Look Back,” Lloyd Cole is not normally known for being nostalgic, but then again, it isn’t every day when an artist releases an extensive box set chronicling five CDs, one DVD and a book. With a tour dubbed “2016: My Retrospective Year,” the severely underrated singer/songwriter (at least to many in America) spent the entire two part evening at the Old Town School Of Folk Music united by that very theme, splitting the set between the new “Collected Recordings 1983-1989” package with his previous band The Commotions, alongside solo material up through 1996.
Though this specific night was exclusively dedicated to reflection and the promise that a second retrospective box is in the works, the troubadour is by no means retiring from his craft and plans to pick up where 2014’s solid studio effort “Standards” left off following this rare and revealing trip down memory lane.
The first half featured Cole, a sheet music stand and some periodic switching between a quartet of guitars as he dusted off group gems such as “Perfect Blue,” “Rattlesnakes” (a favorite for Tori Amos) and “Jennifer She Said.” The Englishmen also tipped his hat towards the late Prince by cleverly blending “Sometimes It Snows In April” with his own “Loveless,” and later, remembering his obvious muse Leonard Cohen via “Famous Blue Raincoat.”
Come part two, Cole’s mood shifted from the reflective and periodically melancholy to the slightly more upbeat and instrumentally intricate, accompanied by his son William on second guitar (an exceptional talent who turned out to be the show’s secret weapon and certainly worth including the entire time). Together, the pair strummed through the gorgeous “Don’t Look Back,” The Commotions’ staple “Are You Ready To Be Heartbroken?” (answered at one point by Scottish indie rockers Camera Obscura), the sublime “No Blue Skies” and at least a dozen more, many of which the headliner hinted he’ll never play again.
All the while, Cole was consistently engaging as a left of center lyricist, while telling a slew of self-deprecating jokes and making sure his wry sense of humor hasn’t lost a shred of its edge. Though this specific night was exclusively dedicated to reflection and the promise that a second retrospective box is in the works, the troubadour is by no means retiring from his craft and plans to pick up where 2014’s solid studio effort “Standards” left off following this rare and revealing trip down memory lane.
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For additional information on Lloyd Cole, visit LloydCole.com.
For a list of upcoming shows at the Old Town School Of Folk Music, visit OldTownSchool.org/Concerts/.