Last Night: Nick Lowe at the Continental Club
Nick Lowe learned a lesson Monday night: Houston rocks, and Houston will shut up and listen.
Lowe and his band seemed slightly flummoxed by the Continental Club and a beyond-capacity crowd Monday night as they worked through a set that was as carefully laid out as Google mapping instructions.
We're not going to say Lowe was a bit out of touch with the nation's fourth-largest city, but at times it seemed like he couldn't believe this many people showed up on a Monday night, paid $40 a ticket and received every bit of the show like religious fanatics.
Opening solo with the tear-jerking "Stoplight Roses," Lowe established immediately that he's still got the golden pipes. He didn't so much take the crowd as the crowd took him and infused him with electricity. The crowd came to worship and pay respect, and the guru was finally in the room.
But as his band tiptoed onto the stage as he began "What Lack of Love Has Done," it seemed Lowe had found his bearings and realized this Houston might be more than he was expecting. A lot more.
By the fourth tune, Lowe and his crackerjack band of legends -- Bobby Irwin on drums, Geraint Watkins on keys, Rich Radford on bass and Van Morrison veteran Johnny Scott on guitar -- had loosened up enough to rock the crowd with a hard-twanging version of Lowe's evergreen anthem, "Raging Eyes," and the game was really on.
"Raging Eyes" is one of those deceptively simple pop tunes that roll out of Lowe's pen with such ease. But just hearing Lowe sing "Sometimes she's as mean as an M-16 automatic" made things very right in the world.
Give Lowe credit: He's been at this so long he knows how to construct a set list. He segued into the tragic George Jones-ish tear-jerker "Lately I've Let Things Slide" and it was pure magic. "I Trained Her to Love Me," "Has She Got a Friend" and "I Live on a Battlefield" sealed the deal; the Continental has seldom seen a band with this much finesse and professionalism.