Thursday night saw us carefully picking our way through dense fog along the old Manchester Road to Holmfirth. Destination, one of my all-time favourite venues, The Picturedrome, to see an act we last saw well over 20 years ago. Lloyd Cole was the first ‘proper’ gig I took our lass to see. The gig was filmed for TV show ‘Rock Steady‘at the rather grand Theatre Royal & Opera House in Wakefield.
The old cinema at Holmfirth is an equally as grand venue. It has seen a few changes over the years. The one-time bingo hall has been a music venue for the past ten years or so. It’s a great little place and one that some of the bigger venues could take note from, especially when it comes to refreshments. No overpriced watered down lager here. Good quality beer and decent selection of spirits. But to me what makes the Picturedrome so special is the floor. It slopes from the back towards the front and then levels out front of stage. So no matter how vertically challenged you are it’s very easy to find a spot where you can view absolutely everything. Adding to this are the balcony areas that look like they are going topple at any moment and a classic 70’s mirror ball strung from the centre of the ornate ceiling. Wonderful!
Arriving just in time to catch the end of the support act we grabbed a couple of beers and settled ourselves for the main draw.
Opening the set with the classic ‘Rattlesnakes’, it looked like Lloyd and The Leopards were set to make a commotion in Holmfirth.
Its 30 years since the release of ‘Rattlesnakes’ and it would have been quite easy, and acceptable for Lloyd to have given us a Commotions greatest hits show. Instead, we were given a tour of his quite extensive back catalogue.
In-between the old favourites, songs from his latest album ‘Standards’ and other not so well known songs, received enthusiastic applause throughout.
This was the day before Lloyd’s 53rd birthday, and by the number of times he made reference to it, Mr Cole must be feeling his age. Confessing after only a few numbers that he was “breathing hard now.” I’m not quite sure what had started to tire him out, but he seemed to cope with it and continued to croon and shimmy his way through the numbers.
Lloyd had brought what seemed like an endless supply of guitars with him changing them for almost every track. [Maybe it was lugging them about that had made him tired?] To the left of stage, Doug MacIntyre looked like a classic rocker and did a fair old job on guitar, as did Blair Cowan on keyboards.
To the right we had the legendary ‘Fast’ Mick Slaven. Sticking mainly to his own corner, making only the odd foray towards the centre stage, he appeared to be having a good time.
However it wasn’t all good. Behind the singer, and hopefully well out of his site, we had bass player Campbell Owens and, on a raised platform for all to see, drummer Jim Gash. Other than walking on and off stage, I think I might have seen Owens move once, but it could have been a trick of the light or the rather lovely beer kicking in. At one point he appeared to have actually taken root… As for Mr Gash. He must have been awake because his arms were moving. Now, it’s not a golden rule, but generally speaking drummers are usually quite animated. Not this one. With his head constantly drooped he wouldn’t have looked out of place in a velvet jacket, dickie bow and ruffled shirt playing to the OAP’s tea dance on a Saturday afternoon. C’mon guys when Lloyd says “Lets rock!”, even if it is tongue in cheek, he still means all of you!
Lloyd obviously has a very loyal and dedicated fan base, but the majority of the crowd, including us, were here for the nostalgia trip, a jaunt down memory lane. Apart from one rather over exuberant fan right at the front flinging his mop flop hairdo round manically to every number, people really came alive to the old 80’s numbers. Towards the end a lady from the back made a rather splendid and eloquent request for 2CV.Lloyds response was the coolest moment of the evening. ”Sorry the band don’t know it.” and then, while the band stood back, proceeded to treat us to a few bars and the opening verse. It would have been nice to have heard a few more.
The night ended with obvious favourite, ‘Forest Fire’, the crowd sang along and [probably] got all misty eyed for the past. Everyone had a good time, and there wasn’t much could spoil what was left of the evening.
It was a school night so it was time for supper and bed. It was still thick with fog when we left but that was OK. What wasn’t OK was the fact that, despite been seen the world over as the epitome of a traditional Yorkshire village, there wasn’t a single chippy to be found for miles around. Like I said there wasn’t much that could spoil the evening. But no fish and chips? In Holmfirth. On a Thursday. Scandalous!
- Weeping Wine
- Opposites Day
- My Alibi
- Lost Weekend
- Blue Like Mars
- That’s Alright
- Perfect Skin
- Women’s Studies
- Period Piece
- Myrtle and Rose
- Perfect Blue
- Brand New Friend
- Tried to Rock
- 2cv (snippet)
The Leopards –
Mick Slaven (guitar),
Douglas MacIntyre (guitar),
Campbell Owens (bass),
Jim Gash (drums)
Blair Cowan (keyboards)