NICK LOWE & LOS STRAITJACKETS + HOWLIN JAWS – THE OLD MARKET, HOVE 04.06.19
Nick Lowe, (who’s been called “the headmaster of British rock”), has been performing live music in bands since 1967, and can definitely be considered a stalwart of the British music scene since the 1970’s.
He’s written and/or produced a large number of hits, for artists as diverse as Brinsley Schwarz, Rockpile, Elvis Costello, Dr Feelgood, The Pretenders, The Damned, The Mavericks and Johnny Cash.
When we turned up at the brilliant venue, The Old Market in Hove on this warm Tuesday evening, it was hard to know what sort of performance tonight’s was going to be, as he’s straddled so many genres.
The show was sold out long in advance, and we couldn’t help but notice many musicians, music lovers, fans and glitterati, as we gathered for a drop of liquid refreshment, prior to kick off. It was also amusing to see heads turned when Brighton’s great and good were found propping up the bar before the night’s revelry got underway.
The support act was a Parisian band called Howlin’ Jaws, a high energy rock’n’roll originals band whose sound is made up of swamp blues, surf music and Chicago blues. The band is a trio made up of Djivan Abkarian (double bass lead vox), Lucas Humbert (guitar/bv’s) and Baptiste León (drums/bv’s). I couldn’t help but think that they would be providing the cool soundtrack for a Tarantino film in years to come, and their sound also flirted with The White Stripes and The Beatles at times.
They played eight of their compositions and blew the audience away with their high octane music, stagecraft, lead vocals, burning guitar riffs, slapping double bass, and smashing drums. Certainly a band to keep an eye out for. Don’t miss out, if you get the chance to catch them live. The guys clearly enjoyed themselves as they posted “Brighton was terrific !! Fanks y’all !”.
After the intermission, a hushed expectancy filled the auditorium, before Nick Lowe came on stage surrounded by four well-dressed gentlemen in slick suits…and luchador masks, (the glittery accoutrements that Mexican wrestlers wear to protect their identity and add a certain mystery to their professional career characters).
These were Los Straitjackets, who are according to their Facebook profile Danny Amis, Eddie Angel, Pete Curry, Chris “Sugarballs” Sprague, Greg Townson, although only 4 guys were with us tonight.
Los Straitjackets are an instrumental rockabilly/surf revival band, employing jangly guitars that you could also consider Tarantino-esque or even a tribute to The Shadows, in places.
These may seem like an unusual choice for a backing band for Mr Lowe, but they have previously released a tribute album to him, ‘What’s So Funny About Peace, Love And Los Straitjackets’ in 2017, so obviously not such a bad decision after all.
Nick Lowe himself came across as a very cool elder statesman, who in his 50 odd years in the music business had pretty much seen everything, but still knows how to give the audience what they want and his love of rock’n’roll has clearly never abated over those years.
His setlist was:
‘So It Goes’
‘You Inspire Me’
‘Raincoat In The River’
‘Somebody Cares For Me’
He then left the stage while Los Straightjackets did a set of;
‘My Heart Will Go On’ (Titanic)
and most of ‘I Love The Sound Of Breaking Glass’ (his largest UK hit) before he rejoined for;
‘Half A Boy & Half A Man’
‘Don’t Be Nice To Me’
‘Love Starvation’ (his most recent single)
‘Blue On Blue’
‘Here Comes That Feeling’ (a Brenda Lee cover)
‘Cruel To Be Kind’ (his biggest hit in the states)
‘I Knew The Bride (When She Used To Rock N’ Roll)’
‘When I Write The Book’
‘(What’s so funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love And Understanding’
All in all a fun night, listening to some great, tight musicians, dancing to a lot of rock’n’roll and catching a great young support act, who really should do very well.
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