Songwriter Cole keeps up his work ethic with long tour

Lloyd Cole, at City Hall Ballroom.
Lloyd Cole, at City Hall Ballroom.
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Lloyd Cole’s a busy man right now. The Buxton-born singer who plays the Sheffield City Hall ballroom next Thursday has a seemingly never-ending string of shows ahead of him.

Spain, Portugal, Germany, New Zealand and Australia, the US and back to the UK and Ireland, the 53-year-old has plenty on his plate.

And there’s a positive reason for all this activity – the warm reception given to his most recent album Standards, released last year.

He says: “It’s a case of striking while the iron’s hot – it all started in smaller venues but recently I’ve been playing to 800 or 900.”

That’s a trend mirrored by the Sheffield show – his last visit here was for an appearance at the Memorial Hall, part of a brief foray to the old country from his current home in Massachusetts.

While Lloyd played a handful of shows with a band called the Negatives back in January, the current gigs are solo ones once more.

He says: “People have been going on at me for ages to play with a band again, so I was a little perplexed that ticket sales in say, Glasgow weren’t better, though the London shows went well.

“To keep a band on the road the economics have to be right.”

Lloyd is playing more than 30 songs from throughout his 30-year career, including favourites from his hitmaking days with the Commotions.

He says: “There’ll be five or six songs from Standards, the rest is a bit of everything. Though I always remember one guy in Aberdeen – it seemed the whole show had been ruined for him because I hadn’t played Forest Fire. There’s always someone’s favourite you miss.”

Lloyd says it’s great to be so busy, though he admits he can’t keep up his current workrate forever.

He says: “At one time 100 per cent of my income came from the records, that’s not the case now, it’s the live work.”

The records themselves present challenges. As other artists have done, Lloyd asked fans for cash contributions to help him make Standards, a more costly band album.

“It was the plan we came up with to ensure we could make the record we wanted to make, and fans put in $100 per person. There were 5 or 600 involved, from all over the globe.

“But then sending out 600 box sets to them all, there are always glitches and really it was too much of a nightmare.”

Apart from live commitments Lloyd says he has 18 months of projects in the pipeline – including deluxe re-releases of all the Commotions albums.

Lloyd says: “They’ve been out of print for quite a while so the time seems right to put them out again.”

Lloyd Cole plays at the City Hall Ballroom on Thursday, March 27.