A lot of the music I listened to in the 80s was, I can now see, a bit rubbish,
but Lloyd Cole and the Commotions were most definitely not.
As the years roll by, I find myself listening to stuff I used to listen to with new ears and some gets the thumbs up, some new regard and some quietly filed under 'best forgotten'.
The first two Lloyd Cole and the Commotions albums were big favourites of mine and I've gone back to them many times over the years and never come away feeling they were anything other than quality music that continues to stand the test of time.
Oddly though, I lost touch with Lloyd Cole (musically) after the Commotions broke up and it was only an idle Googling moment that revealed he'd been busy in the intervening years.
Some online listening led me to discover he was playing Shepherds Bush (my favourite London venue) on 31st January and I booked a ticket well ahead.
When the evening rolled around, it was going to be hectic as I later booked a skiing holiday departing from Gatwick early the next morning, but after toying with the idea of trying to sell my ticket I drove up to Shepherds Bush and walked from Westfield to the O2.
I can't even remember now if there was a support act, which, if there was, is probably an indication of how memorable they were!
Cole's live performances (I'd discovered) in recent years tended to be acoustic solo affairs and it had been some years since he'd performed with a full band, so this tour was a new experience for many of the, many, hardcore Lloyd Cole fans there.
The venue was full and many of those around me clearly knew all the songs, whereas I was only familiar with about a half.
It started well, for all of us, with the iconic "Rattlesnakes", which was performed in rousing fashion, setting the tone for the evening (Lloyd's birthday it transpired).
Lloyds laconic voice ran through all the songs, but, on the whole, the Commotion era songs were faster tempo and more upbeat, the work of an angst young man, rather than the later songs, which echoed of experience some bitter, some sweet. It was no surprise that the mainly middle-aged audience were lapping it up.
Favourites, of course, for me were the Commotion songs, "Perfect Skin", "Lost Weekend", "Forest Fire" (the encore finale) and "Rattlesnakes", but "What's Wrong With This Picture?", "Myrtle & Rose", "Tried To Rock" and "Women's Studies" were unfamiliar to me, but stood out as great tracks.
Even with an early start the next day, to go Skiing in Wengen (I know, life's hard...), it was well worth making the trip to see Lloyd Cole at Shepherds Bush. The Commotion era tracks I knew were great and I came away with a much broader knowledge of his work and even a few new favourites (and a few weeks later, a few new CDs in my collection).
Blue Like Mars
Brand New Friend
Myrtle and Rose
Tried to Rock
What's Wrong With This Picture?
No Blue Skies
Jennifer She Said
Like Lovers Do