Lloyd Cole, Gig Review. Epstein Theatre, Liverpool.

Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * * *

For the unexpected, the unforeseen droll and beautifully humorous, sometimes you have to go that extra mile, you have to put yourself into the path of the genius and let their song cleanse your spirit.

In Lloyd Cole, the laconic, concise moments between songs brought the night steaming to its natural conclusion of being arguably one of the best acoustic sets in the city in 2016. The music played not only filled every square inch of the Epstein Theatre but it was helped along the way by the marking of time, the explanation, the brief interlude in which many reveals were gleaned and even enjoyed, none so more perhaps as the simple line delivered between songs as he discusses getting older, “Small print is frankly ageist”. It was a sentence that unveiled a man to whom the world is thought of, that it is impossible to do anything but love and admire for his sentimentality and grace.

A night of acoustic music, of a myriad of great songs hugging the stage and never letting go, Lloyd Cole did it all with a smile, one that he admitted himself was only missing in the early days because he wanted to look neutral; yet in the nature of the man, there in his music, the retrospective of a life’s work was in plain sight, a beam so bright it could have lit the way from the centre of the Radio City Tower and not stopped till it bounced off the glass in a sparkling array of confusion on the Chrysler Building.

The music though was the star, the songs and tales of a musician to whom many fell for and with unreserved talent aiding in the process; in Lloyd Cole the words are as poetic as Keats; they are delivered like honey to the awaiting jar, preserved, wholesome and naturally good for the ear.

As songs such as Patience, Perfect Blue, Rattlesnakes, Jennifer She Said, Mr. Malcontent, Charlotte Street, Are You Ready To Be Heartbroken, No More Love Songs and the iconic and brilliant Lost Weekend were played to a respectful but unwaveringly loyal Epstein crowd, Lloyd Cole once more was introduced to the love of a Liverpool audience, one that never forgets the great musicians or the fantastic lyric writers.

A night when the acoustic guitar became something else, it took on the role of father confessor and beautiful redeemer; Lloyd Cole, assisted wonderfully by his son William in the second half, was the star and the deliverer to whom untold riches were granted.

Ian D. Hall