Nick Lowe & Los Straightjackets at Sage Gateshead

Nick Lowe & Los Straightjackets
Sage Gateshead
Thursday 13th June 2019

It’s mostly ‘work related’ but my Gig Going days are few and far between these days; so getting me out of the house on a ‘school night’ has to be for a very special gig; and tonight ticked every box I have.
I’ve been a Nick Lowe fan since the heady days of Pub Rock when he was a member of Brinsley Schwarz, then later in Post Punk and beyond as both a Producer and singer I’ve bought far too many of his records to count.
Then two years ago the legendary Los Straightjackets recorded an instrumental album of Lowe’s ‘hits’, which we loved at RMHQ ….. as did the Maestro himself, and an EP and now a joint tour has followed!
Oh ……. not only, but also …… the evening started with a solo set from Dawn Landes!
Dawn’s set got off to a slightly shaky start with her voice wavering a touch on (That’s Why They Name) Whisky After Men; but thankfully her vocal chords noticeably warmed up by the start of Keep on Moving; and the mood was set, with Dawn’s lovely and witty story leading into Straight Lines which I adored,as I did the beautiful Bluebird too.
With so much music crossing our path I’d forgot what a gorgeous voice and range Dawn Landes has, and uses exquisitely on a Francoise Hardy song (sung in in perfect French btw) and the a’Capella My Tiny Twilight written for and dedicated to her young daughter; and the finger-clicks and body poppin’ went down a treat with a very reverential audience, most of whom were new to the cause.

It was fascinating during the intermission to see who many of the great and the good in the local music scene were in attendance; not just to see Sir Nick Lowe, but more importantly…….. Los Straightjackets.
Our new favourite Men in Black came out wearing their trademark Mexican wrestling masks and slinked straight into a cool surf infused So It Goes which sent shivers down my spine, and as it grew to a climax the Great Man finally made his appearance and closed the song with style and panache!
Both of those words perfectly describe the man himself too; grey slacks and a crisp white shirt which perfectly matched his crisp white quiff.
As he himself said in an introduction; the night was chock full of two minute songs from his back catalogue plus a couple of new songs and a cover or too…… and the world was a better place for it.
Oh man! What a night ……. all of these songs were majestic in one way or another; but hearing Nick and The Band turn You Inspire Me into a gorgeously dreamy ballad, Half a Boy simply sizzled and the new song Blue on Blue dragged the mood down somewhat, but was a lot more delicate and poetic than I’ve ever heard from Mr Lowe in 40 years.
The pairing of Nick with Los Straightjackets is/was both bonkers and inspired …… they simply made each other sparkle all night, with the two guitarists each getting tumultuous applause following really dazzling short and sweet solos that were mind blowing.
Being the man he is, Lowe even left the stage for ten minutes to leave the Masked Men to regale us with not just their own cool tracks, but some uber-cool and well choreographed moves too.
These guys are seriously professional but fun, fun, fun too!
No Nick Lowe gig would be complete without I Knew The Bride and tonight’s rendition was both raucous and rip-roaring, with everyone on stage adding something special, which is why it closed the show ……. or did it?
Who’d have guessed that there would be an encore?
Well, there was….. and guess what, it was only What’s So Funny About Peace Love and Understanding, a timeless and not just underrated song but one that may be under valued too by the populace; but what with everything that’s going on in the world of politics these days ….. it just may be our unofficial National Anthem.

I started Thursday with a 4.30 am alarm call and Friday would be 5.30 am …….. but my subsequent lack of sleep was well worth it.

One thought on “Nick Lowe & Los Straightjackets at Sage Gateshead

  1. Terrific review of, what I’ve been told by several people (some of the great and good muso’s), a marvellous gig. We were unable to attend, for various reasons and I am dead jealous, somewhat miffed even, that I missed this one. Nick Lowe always has been, always will be “The Jesus of Cool”.


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