Nick Lowe / Paul Cebar

Jesus of Cool was the U.K. name of Nick Lowe's first solo album in 1978. Even as rebranded for skittish stateside audiences, Pure Pop for Now People had an unmistakable critical cachet of hip irony that has lingered through Lowe's episodically brilliant career: pub rocker, punk and new wave instigator, producer for Elvis Costello, tenaciously clever songsmith. And it still resonates in the 63-year-old Lowe's current guise as an overtly genial geriatric pop crooner. The songs on his recent The Old Magic amble instead of rage, touching on mid-20th-century country and pre-British Invasion American pop amid echoes of Burt Bacharach, but are full of cunning and cleverness. Still subversive is Lowe's entire lack of pretension and his relatively cheerful stoicism at the prospect of creeping decay. Love is still fleeting in Lowe originals like "House for Sale," but now he's the Grandpa of Cool, eager to get on with whatever's next, helped by a little "peace, love, and understanding" that reprises one of his most memorable lines. Opening with a solo set will be Paul Cebar, Milwaukeean professor of scintillating grooves from obscure corners of New Orleans, Memphis, the Caribbean, and Africa. 18+ (Photo by Dan Burn-Forti)
Wed., April 18, 7 p.m., 2012

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