Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Nick Lowe & Los Straitjackets Live Review

Nick Lowe and Los Straitjackets came through Charlotte the night before Brian Setzer's Christmas Rocks! show - so I was treated to TWO nights in a row of Christmas awesomeness!

I'm a big powerpop fan, so having the opportunity to catch Lowe was big on my list of to-dos.  

With the addition of Los Straitjackets - that was just icing on the cake.  

Make that a Christmas show AND you get to hear "I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday" and a surf version of "Linus and Lucy" - sprinkles on the icing!

The Show

First of all, The Quality Holiday Revue brought an AMAZING opening act with it.  The Cactus Blossoms were the epitome of the perfect opening act.  Mostly unknown to everyone - they drew people out of their seats and into the pit to stand up and watch their performance.  If that doesn't tell you how good they were - I don't know how to describe it any better.  How many times have you seen that??  (Full review/pictures HERE).

The show had a really cool format - Lowe came out and did about 3 songs to start the show off and then Los Straitjackets joined him for about 6 songs.  

After that, Lowe took a break and Los Straitjackets took over for about 6 numbers.  To close the show out, Lowe rejoined Los Straitjackets for the remainder of set.  

For the encore - Los Straitjackets came back for 2 numbers and then Lowe joined them to close out the show.  We were treated to one last surprise when Lowe came back by himself for a really sweet rendition of "Alison".

I have to say that the whole experience of the actual show was fantastic.  It was a very personal show.  We were in a club that held about 4-600 people so it was really intimate.  As far as a performer - Lowe is great.  He's really personable, and really, really funny.  I laughed out loud a few times at the anecdotes between songs (And someone even threw a bra at him!)

Los Straitjackets were equally fantastic as well.  As with Lowe, their portion of the show was loaded with humor and fun as well.  They did a couple of bits where they moved together during some songs, and after a song the drummer would stand up and bounce his head and hold his arm out...the best way I could describe it would be if you pictured a guy with a thick New York accent going..."Eh...Eh" looking for a compliment.  Obviously they were being playful and not serious - but it just worked - it was very entertaining.

The Band

Lowe quipped, "They told us it wouldn't work" when describing the marriage between himself and Los Straitjackets..."But here we are for another season, and we hope to be back next year".

He's right.  It just works.  The two camps compliment each other perfectly and it makes for one hell of a great night.

The band is extremely tight (which is always appreciated by me), and they do their thing very very well.  Besides Lowe, the only other vocals came in the form of harmonies from the drummer of Los Straitjackets (Chris Sprague according to Wikipedia).  The harmonies were great and it was a good compliment to Lowe.

I loved that Los Straitjackets used the same instruments.  I mean, they were all painted the same, I believe they were all the same manufacturer - I appreciate little details like that...it makes for a nice touch.  It's unique - you don't see a lot of people doing that and it adds to the cool factor (In my opinion).


Without a doubt this was a super fantastic show.  I hope they come back next year because it's a show I would catch in a heartbeat.  

It's funny, I was talking with someone about the one-two punch combo of concerts I was able to see last week.  Both shows were amazing in their own right.  One show had a lot more power to it, while the Quality Holiday Revue was intimate and just a pure joy to watch.  Each were very different, but both were amazing.  And to see two shows like this two days in a row...forget about it!!!

Without a doubt I can give 2 thumbs up for this concert and highly recommend that you catch it if it comes to your town - especially if you're a powerpop fan.

On the value scale - this one ranks right up there at the top.  Tickets were VERY reasonably priced, and for the show that you get at that price - it's a complete no brainer to go to this show.  You will get every penny's worth!

Below you can find some shot's that I took of the show.  This venue is tricky to take photos at.  There is no separation from the crowd to the stage so I was stuck in one spot to take pictures.  On top of that, this venue is my arch nemesis in terms of light...they very rarely have any kind of spotlight on the artist and it's mainly blues, pinks and greens.  Needless to say, it's challenging to get good shots!

If you're wondering why the only shots of Los Straitjackets were with a camera phone - a photographer is generally only permitted the first three songs to shoot.  Because Nick Lowe came out by himself for the first three songs, I was unable to use my camera for Los Straightjacks - sorry boys!!


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