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Review: Lloyd Cole and The Leopards, 02 ABC, Glasgow

Nicola Meighan's verdict: four stars

Picture: Jayjay Robertson
Picture: Jayjay Robertson

Lloyd Cole seems to think he's old. The Buxton-via-Glasgow pop poet says as much before kicking into the raucous Opposites Day, a highlight from his recent album, Standards, which has rightly been aligned with Lloyd Cole and the Commotions' seminal 1984 debut, Rattlesnakes.

Standards provided several highlights on this career-spanning Lloyd Cole trip, from the wry, handsome swagger of Women's Studies ("I've seen enough to make my recommendations"), to the deferred choral gratification of picturesque ballad Myrtle and Rose ("the longer you were gone, the less the longing").

Cole's all-star backing band, The Leopards - Mick Slaven (guitar), Douglas MacIntyre (guitar), Campbell Owens (bass), Jim Gash (drums) and Blair Cowan (keyboards) - were incendiary, and perfect.

They were true to the songs we know and love from his still-impeccable run of bookish, charming 80s pop hits - Perfect Skin, Brand New Friend, Lost Weekend, Rattlesnakes and Jennifer She Said among them.

And they breathed new life into gentle songs, most notably 2003's beatific country ballad My Alibi, during which the inimitable Slaven turned his axe into something akin to a viola, using only a slide, and reminded us, in exquisite terms, why he is one of our greatest, if unsung, guitarists.

Amid evocative Glasgow references that drew nostalgic cheers ("that place that used to be Chimichangas"), and voluble proposals from the surprisingly few females in the crowd, it became apparent that love for Cole, and his hair and arched eyebrow, was all around.

He may now live in the US, but he'll always be our adopted son - whatever his real age might be. And going by his current rock 'n' roll renaissance, Cole is a very young soul indeed.

View a picture gallery from the gig here

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