NME.COM

Los Angeles Three Of Clubs

So, tonight, it's [B]Lou[/B] the balladeer. At times he may be a bit creaky in remembering the old ones, but that just makes the whole show even more endearing.

This evening was supposed to be a Folk Implosion show. A debut gig as Lou Barlow and John Davis warmed up for their forthcoming national tour, but that was before Davis went AWOL late last year - deciding that touring was just not his thing.



So, tonight, it's Lou the balladeer. At times he may be a bit creaky in remembering the old ones, but that just makes the whole show even more endearing. Here he is, playing in an ageing wood-panelled bar in the dingiest part of Hollywood, a jammed house of devoted fans sprawled on the floor in front of him.



And this show is a long way from the dour Reading Festival guitar-smashing tantrums of years gone by. Lou is positively chipper, fielding requests from the crowd and revelling in their obscurity. His new life in Los Angeles must be treating him well, because instead of shunning songs like 'Brand New Love', Lou smiles with glee before attacking them with a renewed vigour.



In a lot of ways he has come full circle, returning to the early stripped back sounds of 'Weed Forestin'. Rather than a Folk Implosion show, it turns into Lou Barlow's greatest hits, and even in this acoustic fashion, the songs shine through with their radiant beauty. Two hours in, and he's still pulling classics from the Sebadoh songbook. 'Willing To Wait' follows 'Love Is Stronger' and finally he does 'Soul Mate'. In a shallow modern pop world, it's great to know artists like Lou Barlow still exist. Long may he continue to do so.

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