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Lloyd Cole - The Retrospective 1983-1996

De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill - 4th March, 2018

Written By Andy Gunton

A solitary man.

The tone of this evening was set when Lloyd Cole ambled onstage, picked up a guitar and started to play ‘Patience’, without saying a word beforehand.

I suspect I wasn’t the only audience member who thought he was a roadie making final adjustments to the equipment.

This was a very understated show, with no lighting effects, no fanfare, just a man and two acoustic guitars playing songs from his most well known era.

As suggested by the show’s title, this was a retrospective of Lloyd Cole material from 1983 to 1996, with the bulk of the songs coming from the classic albums, made with The Commotions, ‘Rattlesnakes’ and ‘Easy Pieces’. We wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

The opener ‘Patience’ was swiftly followed by ‘Perfect Blue’ and Rattlesnakes’, without the man himself saying a word, apart from ‘Thank You’.

Lloyd Cole is a man of few words, who seems content to let his music do the talking for him.

His between song patter, when it happened, was delivered in a very dry and deadpan fashion. Having said that, he can still deliver an amusing anecdote or observation when he wants to.

Mentions of his problems with contact lenses, his hair, ageing and his need to wear a scarf like Simon Templar certainly had the crowd smiling and laughing along.

The first half of this two part show continued with ‘Pretty Gone’, complete with a ‘Norwegian Wood’ ending, and ‘Charlotte Street’, which we learned doesn’t actually exist.

A nod to the late Leonard Cohen, was made with a nice cover of ‘Famous Blue Raincoat’, before ‘Jennifer She Said’ rounded off the first set.

I must admit to being a little underwhelmed at first, mainly because of knowing the original songs so well and missing the backing of a band behind him.

But as Lloyd Cole warmed up, I warmed to him.

It seemed to take him a while to get into his stride, and his between song patter certainly became more effusive as time went on.

The near full house, seemingly all of a certain age, were obviously enjoying themselves.

Part two started with the classic 'Are You Ready To Be Heatbroken' from 'Rattlesnakes, which set the scene for what for me was the better half of the evening.

This was followed swiftly by 'Cut Me Down', 'Brand New Friend' and 'Why I Love Country Music', all from 'Easy Pieces.

It was around this point that Lloyd Cole talked about an audience getting involved with a show by clapping along. His very amusing advice, and his explanation of his reasoning why was, 'don't do it!'.

Thankfully the audience heeded that advice.

Mention was also made of those long suffering partners of audience members who get dragged along to gigs they'd probably rather not attend, and then get bored part way through.

An observation that raised many a smile, as I suspect we've all been there at some time ourselves.

At least this was folowed by a song that all those significant others would probably have known and heard before, 'Perfect Skin'.

The main set was rounded off in fine style by 'Lost Weekend'.

As always the Bexhill audience were in fine voice, bringing Lloyd Cole back for a two song encore which ended with 'Forest Fire', and prompting him to say "I don't know why I've never been here before".

Hopefully we'll be seeing him again.

But if he does return, don't bother asking him to pose for a 'selfie' with you.

For more info about Lloyd Cole, visit his website at:



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