Nick Lowe’s Quality Holiday Review with Los Straitjackets @ City Winery / Nashville TN / December 5, 2015

DSCN0423If I think back to 1978 when I first saw Nick Lowe on stage wearing the green suit of Batman’s nemesis the Riddler, I never imagined that I would one day see him crooning Christmas songs. The fact that he was backed by four guys wearing Mexican lucha libre wrestling masks seems to make more sense. But, this same guy who once sang (and still does) about knowing the bride when she used to rock and roll, now sings about a Christmas at the airport.

Surprise and cynicism aside, Nick Lowe and Los Straitjackets came to Music City for an early Christmas celebration of holiday music, Lowe classics and Straitjacket instrumentals. This marks the second year that this unlikely coupling has toured during the holidays since Lowe last year released his Quality Street collection of Christmas songs both old and new.

And you know what? It works.

DSCN0406What a pleasant evening it was to see Nick sing about as good as he ever has in his long and varied career. Time has sure been kind to the “Silver Fox from Brentford,” and he continues to age gracefully. And this annual touch of Christmas tradition (despite his self-proclaimed spiritual agnosticism) may stay with us for a while.

Add the Straitjackets to the long list of great bands that have backed Nick over the years. These guys really can play, and their time in the spotlight doing their surf-rock thing was strategically woven into the set to give Lowe a vocal break rather than having them open. Totally staying in character behind those masks, drummer Chris Sprague was the only one not silent in providing some nifty backing vocals. On the other hand, Eddie Angel made his presence known through some mighty guitar licks.

DSCN0430The ‘Jackets instrumental take on Nick’s “I Love the Sound of Breaking Glass” was a tasty treat with its author returning to the stage just in time to sing the final line. Equally as special was Nick’s second encore closing rendition of Elvis Costello’s “Alison” which he has adopted as if it were his own.

DSCN0419Here’s hoping that the Quality Holiday Review comes back every Christmas.


  1. People Change (solo acoustic)
  2. Lay It on Me Baby (solo acoustic) (unknown)
  3. A Dollar Short of Happy (solo acoustic)
  4. Winter Wonderland
  5. Ragin’ Eyes
  6. Christmas at the Airport
  7. Without Love
  8. You Inspire Me
  9. Not Too Long Ago (Joe Stampley / Merle Kilgore cover)
  10. Sleigh Ride (Los Straitjackets instrumental)
  11. (Los Straitjackets instrumental)
  12. (Los Straitjackets instrumental)
  13. Linus and Lucy (Los Straitjackets instrumental)
  14. (Los Straitjackets instrumental)
  15. I Love the Sound of Breaking Glass (Los Straitjackets instrumental)
  16. Sensitive Man
  17. Somebody Cares for Me
  18. The North Pole Express
  19. Half a Boy and Half a Man
  20. Cruel to Be Kind
  21. Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day
  22. I Knew the Bride (When She Used to Rock ‘n’ Roll)
  23. I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day (Roy Wood cover)
  24. (Los Straitjackets instrumental)
  25. (Los Straitjackets instrumental)
  26. (What’s So Funny ‘bout) Peace, Love and Understanding
  27. Children, Go Where I Send Thee (Traditional)
  28. Alison (Elvis Costello cover) (solo acoustic)



Nick Lowe – Vocals and Acoustic Guitar
with Los Straitjackets:
Eddie Angel – guitar
Pete Curry – bass
Chris Sprague – drums and backing vocals
Greg Townson – guitar


  1. Tom 2 · · Reply

    11 Casbah (with the neck action)
    12 Aerostar
    14 Itchy Chicken (?)
    24 Close to Champaign (?)
    25 Sing Sing Sing (Louis Prima cover)

  2. isotope · · Reply

    Bulletin: Nick Lowe’s glasses are now bigger than Costello’s were on his first album (no mean feat!).

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