Friday, August 19, 2011
"Nick Lowe At The Wetlands, 1/30/95" : THE WEEKEND MIX
Jim Farber, The Daily News: 2/1/95
NICK LOWE PICKED A STRANGE PLACE TO get serious Monday night. The famously whimsical rocker gave a decidedly sober performance at the Wetlands, an odd-shaped club that, packed as it was on Monday, blinds more than half the fans to the stage.
If such a setting lessened the intended intimacy, the Bottom Line would have been far more preferable, Lowe still fulfilled his basic goal: To charm in a performance without the usual smirks. In numbers like "Lover Don't Go" or "Shelly My Love," Lowe erased the cheeky defensiveness of his trademark rockabilly-pop, delivering these gorgeous ballads in remarkable earnest.
Lowe established this new direction with his latest album, "The Impossible Bird," released in November. Lowe deepened the connection live by playing acoustic guitar throughout and backing himself with the same four-piece band found on "Bird," and largely taking on material from the new record.
Unlike Lowe's animated bands of the past (like Little Village or Rockpile), The Impossible Birds took a more subdued route. Previously rousing numbers like "I Knew the Bride" or "Half a Boy and Half a Man" came closer to comfy shuffles. While fans may have missed the push-and-pull of a raging rock band, these renditions made up for it by emphasizing songcraft and vocal care.
In the process, the band found fresh nuance in many songs. Their take on Lowe's sole Top 40 hit, 1979's "Cruel to Be Kind," downplayed the song's soaring bubblegum harmonies to stress a Memphis soul organ and driving Motown beat.
Such rootsy influences offered the strongest link to Lowe's past. Though British-born, Lowe boasts an encyclopedic knowledge of American music, from R&amp;B to C&amp;W to Cajun blues. His only Celtic influence arrived in the old gem "Rose of England."
For all Lowe's musical breadth, his voice stole the show. Taking more time with his phrasing, he let notes shimmer in the air or swoop up for a vulnerable falsetto. For Lowe, such moves took a certain daring. Clearly, at 46, he finally has the nerve to play it straight.
Sal Nunziato, Burning Wood: 8/19/11
In just a few weeks, Nick Lowe's new album "The Old Magic" will be released, and I can't remember the last record I was this excited about. He's been playing a few new tunes live over the last 3-4 years, including the stunningly beautiful "I Read A Lot" and "Stoplight Roses," two songs that render me useless each time I listen.
Needless to say, I'm prepping, and digging out some old Nick. I found this Wetlands show and it's a doozy of a performance and set list. When was the last time you heard "Bo-Bo-Ska-Diddle-Daddle" live? Holy Shting-Shtang!
12 STEP PROGRAM
TRUE LOVE TRAVELS ON A GRAVEL ROAD
LOVER DON'T GO
THE ROSE OF ENGLAND
TRAIL OF TEARS
CRUEL TO BE KIND
WHERE'S MY EVERYTHING
I'M COMING HOME
TOMBSTONE EVERY MILE
HALF A BOY, HALF A MAN
CRYING IN MY SLEEP
I KNEW THE BRIDE
SHELLEY MY LOVE
ALLONS ROCK AND ROLL
YOU'RE MY WILDEST DREAM
I'LL BE THERE/PEACE LOVE &amp; UNDERSTANDING
BIG BIG LOVE