Wednesday, 19 June 2019

Nick Lowe at The Sage

Nick Lowe and Los Straitjackets
The Sage, Gateshead

This busy and diverse month of gigs continued to provide plenty of entertainment and, for the first time since the Johnny Cash Roadshow, a male singer. I had been in two minds whether or not to book a ticket for this one but once I found out Dawn Landes was going to be there as support it made the decision very easy.
Dawn's music made a big impression on me when I saw her in York back in October 2018. As I already stated in my round-up of last year's influential music, Dawn deserves to be much better-known in the UK. Her 40-minute set was excellent and showcased songs from Bluebird and Meet Me at the River albums (seek them out if you are unfamiliar) and brought the story right up to date with material from the brand new My Tiny Twilight EP, plus a song from a forthcoming musical.

20 minutes wasn't too long to wait for the main act. In fact I welcomed the opportunity to pop out to chat with Dawn.
Frankly, I hadn't paid much attention to Nick Lowe's advertised band, Los Straitjackets. The quartet took to the stage before Nick Lowe and it was immediately apparent they were going to offer something very different, not least because they were all wearing what can only be described as wrestling or superhero masks. Their musicianship was on display from the very start too and they ensured we saw the rocking side of Nick Lowe for the remainder of the evening.
Nick took a mid-session break which allowed Los Straitjackets to play a small set of their own, which was extremely fresh and entertaining - especially when they played Space Mosquito. They are men of very few words but their talent is definitely not in doubt.


Nick went through the card, with songs stretching across several eras. These included So It Goes, Ragin' Eyes, I Love the Sound of Breaking Glass, Cruel to be Kind and then up his most recent material with Los Straitjackets, including Tokyo Bay.

He joked that as his songs are just three minutes long, anyone not enjoying one of them doesn't[t have have to wait too long for another one to start. It was that sort of evening, with Nick making an instant and strong connection with the audience.

Incidentally, I was surprised to see this show was placed in Sage 2 rather than the much larger hall, especially as the last run of tickets were for standing only, which is rare for Sage 2.

(What’s So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding seemed a good place to finish the excellent evening. I am now looking forward to investigating more of Nick's extensive back catalogue and of finding out more about Los Straitjackets.

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