By Tim Hinely
Somehow, someway in all my years of show going I had never seen Lloyd Cole before. I’m not sure how that happened but I was ready to rectify that at Denver’s Daniels Hall (Swallow Hill).
It was also my first time to Swallow Hill after 8 years of living in Denver. It’s sort of a collective which, in addition to gigs they also offer classes and lectures, etc. A great piece of the Denver music community and the sprawling house-like room has several other rooms as well as plenty of nook and crannies (I believe another musician was playing in some other room on this night). A nice place indeed.
Cole played this very venue a year or so ago and I found out about it too close to the date and wasn’t able to make it, but I wasn’t going to miss this one (not even with the New Pornographers playing down the street at the Gothic).
Lloyd is partially touring for his album released last year (Guesswork) though for this tour, playing solo with a plugged n acoustic guitar, he was playing a career-spanning set.
First words out of his mouth were “Let’s get one thing straight, none of you are getting any younger either.” And so that set off a wonderful evening of music and jokes….yes, Cole is hilarious in that droll, British way.
The place was packed, the crowd was ready and Cole proceeded to play two sets of some of the best jangle pop known to man. With his old band, The Commotions and from his long regarded solo career, he has a deep catalog and visited many parts of it. Opening with “Past Imperfect” and then onto “Kids Today” (off of 2017’s Standards) and then on to classic with the Commotions, “Rattlesnakes.” Also from the Commotions catalog we heard “My Bag” and “Mainstream” later in the street.
He took a short break and came out and for set two. He opened with another classic “Are You Ready to be Heartbroken?” (the song that Scottish band Camera Obscura had the perfect response to) and later in the set we heard another old crowd pleaser in “Charlotte Street.” Cole didn’t forsake his newer stuff though, on the contrary, we heard lovely new gems like “Violins,” “Night Sweats” and “The Afterlife” (all three off of 2019’s Guesswork).
He nailed the LC & the Commotions trifecta at the end with “Hey Rusty,” “Perfect Skin” and Lost Weekend” came out for a few encores (including the great “Forest Fire”) and called it a night.
In addition to his well-crafted songs and his still-very-strong voice Cole kept the audience laughing for most of the night with his dry sense of humor (I burst out laughing a few times..including the one about busting on the Red Sox for being more worried about the Yankees than they are their own team….and he can do that as he has been a Massachusetts resident for several years) so if he ever hangs up the guitar he’s got a good shot at comedy clubs.