It is great to see a building as grand as The Old Museum being well used in this city… let’s face it, we have not done a bang up job of maintaining our architectural heritage here in QLD.
Since the loss of The Troubadour as a live music venue, The Old Museum has stepped up to the plate and is providing a much needed and very beautiful space. And on Thursday evening, it played host to the sounds of The Lloyd Cole Small Ensemble.
I last saw Lloyd in solo mode toward the end of 2009 (here’s that review) and he was absolutely superb. Since that time he has been a busy man, recording a brilliant new album, Broken Record, as well as a new live album of sorts, the Slaughterhouse Studio Sessions, which the very generous Mr Cole was giving away for free – and take it from me, this is an absolute gem…
As was the show!
Opening with the triple punch of No Blue Skies , Why I Love Country Music and Perfect Skin, the crowd were transfixed. The timelessness of Cole’s songwriting is immediately apparent… while many of the songs played tonight are well into their 20’s, each sounds as vibrant as it did on release, some more so. Proof that Lloyd’s theory of ‘only making music when inspiration actually strikes’, has more than paid off.
And it is many of the new songs tonight that thrill the most… the title track from Broken Record and Writers Retreat have that classic Lloyd Cole sound with a sweet country twist; Why in the World? is scathingly autobiographical –
So when did I cease to see the light?/ and maybe you were right/ Maybe I’m all dried up inside/ Maybe I’m not built for these times/ Maybe I don’t know how to live –
and as melancholy as anything Cole has ever penned and If I Were A Song is a modern classic…
Would you still cry when I played?/ Would you still turn to me for the pain/ If I were just a song?
and maybe if it were penned by Leonard Cohen, it would sell millions of copies… but this is just another of life’s quandaries.
After delighting the crowd for just over two hours, Lloyd leaves us with another classic triple play, closing the show with Forest Fire before returning for an encore of Undressed and Lost Weekend. And even then, the crowd aren’t going anywhere fast, many hanging around the merch table to take Lloyd up on his offer of getting their CD’s signed.
But slowly we all drift out into the Brisbane night, talking passionately, singing loudly and smiling into the sultry darkness, taking with us the lasting power of a songwriter still at the height of his powers.