Lou Barlow – The White Hotel, Salford

Dinosaur Jr. is nice and all (read all about the recent live show here), but with bassist Lou Barlow playing alone, without all that fuzz, and without all that Mascis, you get something a little more with a little less. A night at The White Hotel, which is certainly white but certainly not a hotel, was a folk implosion laid bare, Lou and his strings, that’s all he ever really needs.

Lou Barlow has dabbled in a number of musical ventures over the years, so when it came to Lou sitting on his amp ready to play us some tunes, he generally let the audience decide, let us determine which pieces from the past would shape the night. So of course, it became an acoustic solo Sebadoh show. Who would want less? Who could need more? From ‘On Fire‘ to ‘Soul and Fire‘ there was plenty of heat for us all. 

Without a set-list to routinely work upon, we got fan favourites, well-know or not, stripped back, still working those emotions, with stories from Lou about how disingenuous he found the lyrics from ‘The Freed Pig‘ when it came to poor J Mascis, and ‘Love Is Stronger‘ with it’s relationship whining, or how ‘Willing To Wait‘ nearly made it onto the ‘hilarious’ TV show ‘Friends’. Oh, how he wanted it so, oh, how he now looks back with disdain.

Also with being a largely request based show, there were plenty of screw ups, head scratching over old tunings, and helpful assistance from the crowd in finishing off certain song lines. It was so casual and cosy, a gathering for those with a penchant for lo-fi moods. Despite the shakes from a recent shoulder op, he looked so happy to be playing on top of bricks in the charmingly grotty White Hotel, the freed man after a night of noise with Dinosaur Jr. And a happy Lou makes for a happy you.

Though he didn’t play my request ‘Punch In The Nose‘, considering it to be a bit a typical Manchester thing to suggest. Bastard.


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