“It’s great to be back in Glasgow.” is Lloyd Cole’s predictable opening shot to the crowd. Little has changed though, the place is still too hot for comfort and the man himself is still playing, the same songs. infusing, them wjth a wit that takes a sly dig at Pat Kane’s bid co be Glasgow University’s next rector and allows him to encore with an acoustic version of Orange juice’s ‘Rip It Up’. It’s strange for someone launching a solo career to rely heavily on older material, you would imagine he’d have more confidence in his new album.
A greatest hits show would have been fine if the audience had been interested in the new songs, but by opening with ‘Perfect Skin’ and ‘Big Snake’, all they wanted to hear was their own personal favourites from the back catalogue. Throughout, however, we were reminded just how far he had progressed – everything from ‘Mr. Malcontent’ co ‘Mainstream’ and ‘Why 1 Love Country Music’ were given the ‘I’ve got some mildly famous and respected musicians in my band now’ treatment.
Swamping earlier material in guitar virtuosity of Clapton-esque proportions is to completely miss the point of the songs in the first place. The problem is most noticeable with the final two songs of the set. ‘Sweetheart’ and ‘I Hate To See You Baby Doing That Stuff’ that were obviously written with the intention of rocking out and as a consequence were the highlights of the evening.
It seems Lloyd Cole is as uncertain about his musical direction as most people are about his nationality; until he makes up his mind he’s neither a bedroom~ poet made good nor a greasy rocker made bad.
Publication: Record Mirror
Publication date: 03/03/90