Monday, March 25, 2019

Song of the Day: 'Hey Rusty' by Lloyd Cole and the Commotions


Caught Lloyd Cole at City Winery on Saturday night. It was my third time seeing the ex-Commotions frontman live -- always in his indie era -- and once again he didn't disappoint. Although he has a new album that's about to come out, the tour was actually the final stage of a "best of" show he initially started to support a box-set of his work, only to have it be so popular that it's extended for three years. (It was just as well, he said, given that he wasn't writing new material during two of those.) Although Cole comes across as a bit of a misanthrope -- he was friends with Morrissey back in the day, after all -- I love that he understands that so many of his fans fell in love with his cerebral pop musings by way of his debut album, "Rattlesnakes." Whether it's purely out of a desire to play lots of other material yet still give the people what they want -- or whatever the reason -- Cole performed about 30 songs last night, including "Rattlesnakes" all but in its entirety, broke into two incredible sets. In addition to a great selection of songs from the other Commotions albums and his many solo efforts, he also did "Famous Blue Raincoat" in honor of Leonard Cohen, who left us in 2016.


Cole had played two other "best of" shows at the great City Winery, which he noted would be closing soon to make way for the Walt Disney Company. "I used to live across the street from here," he explained. "And now none of us will ever set foot on this block again ... unless you love princesses.” (Read about the breakup of the Commotions and Lloyd' move to NYC back in the 1980s HERE.)


The first time I took Damian to see Cole, at the Bell House early in our relationship, he was so moved  by what he heard he later told me he'd spent the majority of the show in tears. I wasn't surprised. Although I think the Commotions' guitar work is similar to the Smiths -- one might even accuse Johnny Marr of "borrowing" from it -- it's Lloyd's relationship-focused lyrics that get me every time. And with that said, Saturday was a dry-eyed evening for me ... until he played "Hey Rusty" near the end of the second set. "Rattlesnakes" wasn't one of the albums my brother Bill introduced me to as a kid -- I discovered it on my own. Yet Cole's lyrics have a way of getting to me like few others can. So as he sang about two men recalling growing up together, the waterworks were in full swing. Enjoy for yourself, below. xo


Cole, who was a bonafide heartthrob back in the day, loved poking fun at his aging body throughout the show. (Although he's long lived in the U.S., I suppose it speaks to his British roots that he has no problem announcing that he may never be hot again, but at least he's "not fat"!) So this video set to a very young and beautiful Matt Dillon in "Rumble Fish" seems fitting. As Lloyd said, we may never be young and beautiful again, we also at an age where we don't have to give a f**k about many things we used to. 

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