Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Reason It's a Cliché Is Because It's True

That title is taken from one of my all-time favorite Lloyd Cole lyrics, from the song "A Long Way Down." Tuesday night I had the pleasure of seeing him perform an acoustic set at Bowery Electric.  I went alone, on a rainy night. Hoping for the distraction that it was. There are just some nights that seem on the precipice of something, and this was one of them.

You see, things haven't been going so well. Sporadic work at best. Promising interviews and balls in the air that turn into meteorites, hitting the earth with a fiery crash. A great guy who it turns out was only a mirage like so many others, just took a while longer to fade into the horizon. And then a big health scare, which I would know more about the next day.

Turns out, I'm OK. Although let's just say that I'm feeling slightly guilty about all the times my friend Dennis and I joked that our favorite Lifetime movie that never got made is "Happy Birthday Cancer." But all's good. Or at least, it seems it will be. All's relieved. Very relieved. 

This is why I tip well, folks. 

But enough about me. So Bowery Electric on a rainy Tuesday night...

Dave Derby, a former bandmate from a Lloyd Cole one-off outfit called The Negatives opened. Huge surprise, Jill Sobule, another member of the band, came to see the gig. So they played a couple of songs together. 

Then a handsome young lad who had a very familiar look about him came onstage to tune the guitars before Mr. Cole was to take the stage. 

As easily guessed, this was William Cole, who is attending NYU and clearly had a great music teacher. Turns out he's helping Dad out on this mini-tour, playing some of the more complicated arrangements of a couple dozen songs.

Lloyd Cole is one of those British singers who sounds better as he gets older (looking at you, Richard Thompson and Robyn Hitchcock).  He sang all the important stuff, and as I heard "My Other Life," "Rattlesnakes," "Happy For You" ("Lay your head upon my shoulder/Let it rest there for a while/I guess I'm still good for something/Once in a while"), "No More Love Songs"("I gave 'er whisky/And she gave me everything"), "No Blue Skies," "Lost Weekend" and so many other well-crafted tunes, I felt a wash of calm and contentment I hadn't felt in weeks. All that needed to be happening in that moment was in that small club, and all the other shit I had no control over could go on without me for a couple of hours.

William at one point tried to work the crowd, scanning the audience and saying how great it was to perform in front of so many smiling faces. To which his dad quipped, "That's no son of mine!"

"Perfect Skin" and "Brand New Friend" rounded out the encores. In all a great way to spend a night before a day that would, to paraphrase, not be so sure. And as it turns out, way surer than anticipated.

So if they did have to make "Happy Birthday Cancer," Winona in the title role, right?

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