Monday, October 13, 2008

Nick Lowe @ The Barrymore, Madison, WI, 10/12/08

Ms. Geranium and I went to see Nick Lowe last night. Third-row seats, to boot (thanks, Pam & Mike!) I enjoyed it quite a bit. I must admit, when I was younger, I didn't really appreciate Lowe's music. Tastes change, however, and I have come to believe that Nick Lowe is one of the world's greatest living song writers in addition to being a good performer. It was a real treat to see him in person. He has a gift for writing catchy, memorable songs and is a very clever lyricist. His songs about lost love, loneliness, etc, often have a humorous twist and he isn't afraid to write songs that might seem a bit creepy and twisted to some listeners (I Trained Her To Love Me, for example.) He played a number of songs I hadn't heard before and many of them caused me to chuckle. There were moments when, half a phrase away, the realization of the rhyme he was leading up to made me laugh.

Ms. Geranium pointed out that it was a little odd to watch a performer who, aside from his sneakers, was dressed like an elementary school principal (I think the effect would have been complete if he had been wearing a bow-tie.) Then he would strike a tongue-in-cheek rock 'n' roll pose.

These days, I find I particularly enjoy seeing, let's call them "mature" artists. In the case of Nick Lowe, he's been playing for a long time, doesn't have anything to prove and appears to be very comfortable with who he is. He was clearly having a good time and appeared quite relaxed. He doesn't get to these parts very often (he said the last time he was in Madison was when he was palling around with Cheap Trick, probably in the mid to late seventies) so I'm glad we had this opportunity.

A word of advice to concert goers: Try to control the impulse to clap along with your favorite songs. Unless you have a really good sense of rhythm, it usually ends up sounding pretty lame, particularly when you get off the beat.

Here are a couple of my favorite Nick Lowe songs. (I have lots of other favorites, but one can only spend so much time scanning YouTube.) First, Without Love, performed in 2007.

Now, just to contrast the new and the, umm.... not so new, here is I Love the Sound of Breaking Glass, probably from the mid to late seventies.


Anonymous said...

Good old, Nick. I've never listened to him enough, I fear. I only know the obvious songs. 'Breaking Glass' brings back good memories. It was funny how, around that time, he brought out an EP called 'Bowi' after Bowie ahd released 'Low'. Haha!

poodledoc said...

I enjoyed this post and the way you used the term "mature". I guess we are and the artists we listen to these days are "mature". I guess we're talking about chronological age only, right? Nick Lowe is a genius. Underrated. I don't know him as well as you, but sounds like a good concert to see at the Barrymore.

Pagan Sphinx said...

I saw Nick Lowe earlier this year and came away with very similar reflections to yours on his performance. He seems like a nice guy and what a crooner! I agree with you about his songwriting talents. He's really come into his own.

Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

Dude, I am so jealous! You got a postcard from WhiskeyMarie and you got to see Nick Lowe too! I'm a huge Nick Lowe fan and have been since the late '70s. "Without Love" is not a new song of his, that may be a newish arrangement, it actually is from his 'Labour of Lust' album which came out in 1979.
I apologize if that last sentence annoyed you.

Oh by the way, we had a bunch of friends over for dinner the other night and someone put your EP on and everyone dug the heck out of it. So thanks again for sending it to me.

Ed said...

Singing Bear: You owe it to yourself to check out some of his more recent songs.

PoodleDoc: I agree, I don't think Nick Lowe gets the credit he deserves from many of the music historian-types.

Pagan Sphinx: It was a great concert. I'm glad you also had a chance to hear him live. We seem to share some similar tastes in music.

Dr. Monkey :No annoyance experienced on this end, since how can one be annoyed by a fact (I guess Republicans manage it.) Sorry if I implied that Without Love was a new song. I guess my thinking was to contrast a recent performance with an early one. I wasn't very clear in my post. Thanks for sharing The MPs with your friends. Tomorrow, the world!