Last Night: Nick Lowe at the Continental Club

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Photos by Jason Wolter
Nick Lowe
Continental Club
May 7, 2012

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.

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It only got better when Lowe broke into "Heart," an up-tempo ditty that could be read several ways. Was Lowe's heart really "pounding like a hammer" as he settled in for the night? We couldn't tell.

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.


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Continental Club

3700 Main, Houston, TX

Category: Music


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9 comments
Andrew Karnavas
Andrew Karnavas

This show was awesome. Alison and House for Sale were my two favorites.

Richard
Richard

It was a great show.  Only 1 problem, walking offstage after playing an hour, then giving a 20 minute encore equates to the shortest concert (80 minutes) I've ever attended.  Had drinks with mr lowe and was backstage at a 1981 Rockpile concert here in Houston. If I have 10 things for him to sign and he'll sign them, I will let him.  Wait your turn or get in line sooner.  He only signed about half but don't whine & complain about it.  Besides, we have a mutual friend in Lee Brilleaux's widow that we were talking about.

Rob F
Rob F

An on point well written review (with super photos) which reflects a great performance spot on.  Nick's recording quality has been superb for many years; however, unlike 99% of artists, he even sounds better live.  A true gentleman who was kind enough to sign my old Rockpile album.  A class act who gets better with age like a fine wine.

GregR
GregR

I heard a similar Autumn Defense comment in the crowd, but worse: Guy One - "I heard these are the guys from Wilco." Guy Two - "Who's Wilco?'

P.S. When a legend like Nick Lowe is nice enough to stay after class and sign stuff, don't hand him 10-12 CDs and expect him to sign each one.

Jenny
Jenny

I was there too & have to agree. Feared I was just being sentimental and remembering it better than it was--here's to corroboration.

GMS
GMS

Wonderfully done, Mike.  His songs remind me of a movie quote: "Laughter through tears is one of my favorite feelings."  Extraordinary Songwriter, Guitar Player, Band Leader, Singer, Entertainer - yea, he's a rare one indeed.

Pen
Pen

Finally a review that makes me understand just what I missed.

Steve Gilbert
Steve Gilbert

An absolutely incredible show.  I hope and pray it won't be another 10 years before we see him in H-Town again!

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