REVIEW: Musical legend LIoyd Cole cuts a dash at the Stroud Subscription Rooms

3:44pm Friday 11th April 2014

By Sarah Phaedre Watson

Lloyd Cole at the Stroud Subscription Rooms, Thursday, April 10

The announcement of Lloyd Cole playing a gig in Stroud was met with anticipation; Cole was a beloved mainstay of the 1980s, renowned for songs with heartfelt and sophisticated lyrics.

But would he stick to material from his new album, or include much-loved classics? After three decades would those classics have lost impact and become dated? His fans in Stroud were keen to find out; the Subscription Rooms were packed.

With no support act the focus was on Cole, as he joked: “I am the opening act, then afterwards I will come back and I will headline.”

The stripped back acoustic arrangement without the warm jangle of the Commotions to accompany him allowed the sensitive, often humorous lyrics of his songs to really be heard and appreciated.

Thankfully Cole’s set spanned the whole of his career; favourites such as ‘Rattlesnakes’ and ‘Perfect Skin’ were received with delight, ‘Are You Ready To Be Heartbroken?’ met with a few tears by some sitting near me.

Songs from his new album ‘Standards’ worked well alongside the earlier pieces; ‘Myrtle and Rose’ opened with some impressive guitar playing, although Cole apologised that he was unable to maintain that level and sing at the same time, so the audience were humorously invited to listen to him play the guitar for a bit and imagine that he continued the impressive playing throughout the rest of the song.

Initially his songs were greeted with reverent silence and approving applause, but as the evening progressed enthusiasm grew and those in attendance clearly enjoyed his humour and the entertaining insights that he shared.

Any concerns were unfounded, by the time Cole left the stage he had captured the hearts of the room and an encore was inevitable. We were rewarded with the beautifully anguished ‘Forest Fires’.

As I left I overheard someone saying that they hoped to see Cole walking around town the following day. As a keen golfer, he famously chooses venues close to excellent golf courses, so perhaps he will have been spotted playing a round at Minchinhampton Golf Club?

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