Robyn Hitchcock opened on three of the stops on Nick Lowe’s limited US tour. I don’t know Nick Lowe from boo, but I will make a point to see Robyn Hitchock whenever the opportunity presents itself. The show at Grand Ballroom in New York on April 9th started out pretty weird from the get-go. It was set in a carpeted ballroom with stackable chairs laid out like one would expect at a Donald Trump hosted Learning Annex Seminar. On top of that, the crowd looked as if it was pulled from a Larry David stunt double convention…that is nearly all old balding dudes. Robyn Hitchcock started the show and was, as usual, very entertaining.

The Nick Lowe set was surprisingly good as well. My perception is that Nick Lowe is like an UK version of Lee Hazelwood; a highly regarded (British country?!?) songwriter whose renown was more for writing songs popularized by others. Like a UK based Hazelwood he seems to have wry dark humor to his songs and a lot of cool cred in particular among UK artists like Hitchcock, despite having been out of the picture for quite some time. (In one of Hitchcock’s inter-song dialogs he referred to himself as Nick Lowe’s psychedelic little brother.)

Nick Lowe was in the middle of his encore when the audience flipped its collective shit when Elvis Costello joined him as a surprise guest. Elvis Costello, for whatever reason, has never caught my interest so I was a bit nonplussed with the reaction when he joined the two, in my opinion, more engaging performers in Nick and Robyn. Seeing how seldom the headlining Nick Lowe performs, I was further surprised when the up-till-then polite crowd started rushing the stage and taking cell phone photos like Hannah Montana fans. Weird. Anyway here is the final song in the encore with Robyn Hitchcock leading the three in the Elvis track “Mystery Train”.
[audio:|titles=Mystery Train (Live)|artists=Robyn Hitchcock/Nick Lowe/Elvis Costello]
Download: Robyn Hitchcock/Nick Lowe/Elvis Costello – Mystery Train (Live)


  1. Nick Lowe is probably still best known for writing “Cruel To Be Kind.” YepRoc recently reissued his classic Jesus of Cool album. He’s taking it a bit easier these days, but still a gifted songwriter.

  2. I should add that (a) I’m a logtime Hitchcock fan also; and (b) The Lowe-Costello connection goes way back. Lowe produced EC’s Armed Forces album and wrote “What’s So Funny ‘Bout Peace, Love & Understanding,” which I suppose may be almost as well known as “Cruel To Be Kind” these days.

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