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Tuesday, December 12

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Review Mon Oct 11 2010

Review: Nick Lowe @ Old Town School of Folk Music, 10/10

It's been a decade since Nick Lowe toured with a full band. The British singer/songwriter's recently toured as a solo musician, just him and a guitar churning out best-of sets sprinkled heavily with songs from his last few albums. Now, Lowe is completely capable of entertaining a crowd on his own, but Sunday's full band show at Old Town School of Folk Music was a perfect example of how valuable a backing band should be.

Lowe's first three songs, including "Heart", were solo and totally acceptable. But when his all-star band joined him, it was a whole different show. They filled in the gaps where Lowe's solo performances have occasionally lacked and accentuated his wide-ranging appeal. There's only so much that can be done with an acoustic guitar. Once drums, bass, keys and a second guitar were added to the mix, then they were cooking with gas. From the country-influenced songs ("Lately I've Let Things Slide") to the R&B slow burners ("The Other Side of the Coin" in tribute to Solomon Burke) to the straight-up rockers ("Cruel to Be Kind") to the jazzy numbers ("You Inspire Me") and on and on, the band's versatility was key in showcasing that Lowe's songwriting prowess has extended beyond the pub rock, new wave, and pop that he's often associated with.

Nick Lowe's been in the music business for a long time. He's seen numerous trends appear and fade. He's not exactly doing the same things that he once did when he was in Brinsley Schwarz or Rockpile, but he's not too far off from it. He's just kinda mellowed out a bit while exploring his options. Nobody puts together such an arsenal of catchy hooks without getting a little outside of their comfort zone every now and then. (As good as he is, he's simply been widening that zone.) And it was all on display last night for an enthusiastic crowd. The only negatives were the anticlimactic closings - a tranquil "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding" following a roaring "I Knew the Bride" to end the main set, then a cover of "Go 'way, Hound Dog" after a brilliant "When I Write the Book" in the encore. It was equivalent to a fireworks show ending on wimpy comets. Minor quibbles, though, because it was pretty fantastic getting pummelled by great songwriting for an hour and a half.

 
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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

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