Lloyd Cole at Rough Trade East
Having released his latest album Standards on 24th June, singer-songwriter Lloyd Cole appeared at Rough Trade East to play an easygoing half-hour set.
Entering with an electric acoustic guitar, he opened up with Don’t Look Back, a song about getting older. From that point on you knew what to expect: old school rock ‘n’ roll in the same vein as Bob Dylan or Don McLean. The straightforward guitar lines and lyrics featuring cards, alcohol and lost love were instantly familiar and enjoyable.
Lloyd Cole’s set was comfortable. It didn’t push any boundaries or do anything out of the ordinary. It was good though almost formulaic, safe – it didn’t innovate much, and that was to the detriment of the music as a whole. The songs were all pretty slow-paced with a similar feel from one to another, the only notable exception being the final number Perfect Skin, which thankfully sped things up slightly and ended the show with a bit of a kick. Listening to the music before that however, nothing truly stood out aside from Cole’s cover of Leonard Cohen’s Famous Blue Raincoat. As good as Cohen is, it’s a real shame that a cover song was enough to overshadow most of Cole’s original material.
It would be easy to pass this semi-generic verdict off as the product of a generational gap, but listening to Dylan or McLean proves that there’s a lot more to the range besides what was presented at Rough Trade. The set wasn’t bad by any stretch of the imagination – Cole has an easy attitude onstage and his banter with the crowd is amusing. Perhaps it was just down to the song selection, but the experience wasn’t particularly memorable overall, just comfortable.
For further information and future events visit Lloyd Cole’s website here.
Watch the video for Period Piece here: