NICK LOWE at the Phoenix, Monday, April 23. Rating: NNNN
The moment presented a marked contrast between the two iconic English singer/songwriters. While Costello's style has become grossly histrionic with age, Lowe increasingly wields a hushed mellow power.
Subtlety and warmth were on display throughout Lowe and his four-piece band's Phoenix show in support of new album The Old Magic, from which the set drew heavily. Recent songs like Stoplight Roses, House For Sale and I Read A Lot prove that the 63-year-old former pub-rockist's gift for conveying devastating emotion through brilliant, crystal-clear lyrics hasn't faltered.
Mixed in were hefty (too hefty, perhaps) doses of upbeat honky-tonk that my mom would've love jiving to, personable between-song banter and some of the best songs Lowe's ever written: Cruel To Be Kind, I Live On A Battlefield, Lately I've Let Things Slide and, of course, What's So Funny About Peace, Love And Understanding, made famous by Costello.