Nick Lowe at the L2, 9/29/12 (review) - Reverb

Nick Lowe at the L2, 9/29/12 (review)

Nick Lowe headlined the L2 on Sept. 29, 2012. (Photo by Matt Carr/Getty Images)

Nick Lowe headlined the L2 on Sept. 29, 2012. (Photo by Matt Carr/Getty Images)

Nick Lowe’s fall tour rolled into Denver on Saturday, supporting his latest release — 2011’s universally acclaimed “The Old Magic.” It was held at the wonderful L2 Arts and Culture Center on East Colfax. The former church still subtly encourages respectful silence and Lowe’s set required active listening. Opening with the tender “Stoplight Roses” from his latest, Lowe charmed the audience throughout the set. Lowe’s voice, guitar playing and, of course, the songs, themselves, won everybody over on Saturday night.


Lowe is a genuinely hospitable, witty showman with few equals. His smart, Brit-dry stage banter killed: “This is a song so old, it bought a condo in Phoenix.”


Highlights of the 70 minute set (plus two encores) are too numerous to mention, but the mocking wit of “I Trained Her To Love Me” was so winning, it allowed you to easily buy into the poignant songs like “I Read A Lot” and “Lately I’ve Let Things Slide.”


There were Rockpile songs and early Lowe solo hits, like “Cruel To Be Kind,” and the rousing set closer, “I Knew The Bride (When She Used To Rock And Roll).”


The encore featured two songs that sent folks home beaming: “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love And Understanding,” famously covered by Elvis Costello was, in Lowe’s hands, completely stripped of ’70s punk-era irony. It was like hearing an entirely different song; the sentiment completely heartfelt. So, too, was the evening’s finale: a plaintive, beautiful, “Alison” with Lowe’s stark delivery conveying even more heartbreak than Costello’s.

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Mike Long is a Longmont-based writer and comedian and a regular contributor to Reverb.