Serendipity and the Ubiquitous Nick Lowe

Last week I went to see Nick Lowe at Vicar Street in Dublin. This was definitely one of the best gigs I have seen in quite a while. Although he has lost a little in the top register – the sweet lead of his early solo singles  is flattened a little – and he is more countrified (what can you expect from a guy who was married to Carlene Carter, Johnny Cash’s daughter) but he is still a superb writer and performer. The club atmosphere of Vicar Street also added to the experience – I was at a Bruce Springsteen gig in the RDS last year and ended up watching him on the big screens; another great gig but I felt divorced from the action by the sheer magnitude of the arena and the distance from my seat to the stage. I would almost have preferred to have been in the standing area in the pouring rain but even there he would have appeared an extra from The Hobbit.

After the gig I ran into a guy I hadn’t seen in a couple of years. A day later he sent me a link to a u-tube video he uploaded. I guess I’m a bit sheltered but I was amazed to see the video of a gig I actually attended.

Halfway through the gig Nick Lowe played I Knew the Bride, an old favourite of mine that I always assumed was a Dave Edmunds song, as I heard it by him first.  Then, a couple of days later, I was in Huddersfield (Yorkshire, England) on business. And, as always when I visit Huddersfield, it was raining. So, I’m on my way to the railway station, heading for the airport and home, and I’m getting soaked. I pass a shop called Vinyl Tap and I’ve simply got to go in – to shelter, if nothing else. Downstairs they’ve got this immense room full of second-hand vinyl – and every LP, no matter what the condition, is two quid a pop. So I flick through the twelve bins of prog rock and find several copies of Welcome by Santana, setting the cleanest aside. They have a huge box of Simon and Garfunkel records – at the front is Sounds of Silence which joins the Santana. I’m running out of time but press on to the countless seventies boxes where I find the first Bad Company LP and…. serendipitously… Get It by Dave Edmunds, featuring I Knew the Bride written by Nick Lowe. Out of time, I brought my four treasures (only the Dave Edmunds would I have bought at normal s/h prices) to the till and the guy says ‘ call it a fiver.’ Serendipity indeed.


About Bob Neilson

Bob Neilson lives in Dublin with his wife, two daughters, son, two dogs, one cat and a growing feeling of claustrophobia. In partnership with his wife he runs a successful retail business in Dublin city. His short fiction has appeared extensively in professional and small press markets and he has had two plays performed on RTE and one on Anna Livia FM. He also presented a radio show on Anna Livia for a year. He has had two short story collections published, Without Honour (1997, Aeon Press) and That’s Entertainment (2007, Elastic Press) as well as several comics and a graphic novel. His non-fiction book on the properties of crystals is a best-seller in the UK and Ireland.
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2 Responses to Serendipity and the Ubiquitous Nick Lowe

  1. Magnus Hägermyr says:

    I saw Mr Lowe at Paladium/Malmö/Sweden in January (in row two center stage!). The way he opened “I Knew The Bride” with some kind of a rock a billy howl like Elvis in a well tiled bathroom really put us all, in the sold out concerthall, fully alert.

    With that songcatalogue of his I hold him equal to the giants of the 60:s: Kinks, Beatles, Stones, Who etc.

    • Bob Neilson says:

      I don’t think he’s quite in the pantheon of Rock Gods, but he’s certainly at the very top of the second tier – particularly when you consider hi production credits, songwriting, bass playing and general hanging-round with other rockers, rollers and new wavers.

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