Hey, if things keep on like this Dave Edmunds and Nick Lowe are going to be our very own Gregg 'n' Cher. Not that all is hunky dory — it's dramas a-go-go in fact. A bleary-eyed Lowe is hunched in one corner of the pub while an equally weary looking Edmunds socialises in the opposite corner.
On first meeting after Nick Kent's scam on Where Things Stand the other week, conversation was evidently, uh, awkward as their eyes met. Some say this is the last Rockpile gig with Lowe in attendance, but when Edmunds hits the road in September we'll see what we see.
We were gathered here in the presence of Granada Television to unite these two people for the next So It Goes series. The venue, Eric's, is a dandy of a club with a booking policy of "anybody who's interesting." Like, practically within the space of a breath they've got Stanley Clarke, Wayne County and John Martyn. Since it opened last October with The Stranglers, the club has become renowned as a punk venue but Roger Eagle, one of the three bosses, says, "It's not punk per se. We operate on a fairly chaotic basis, and it's turned into a musician's gig.
"I wish somebody would open a punk club up here because it's becoming the property of the young and we have a strict age limit here. I don't like to see them not getting to see bands."
For this dynamite bill — Elvis Costello opening, then Nick Lowe centre stage followed by Dave Edmunds' Rockpile — the place was packed with highly pleased punters who were given tickets after Saturday night's gig at the club. A good move. Predisposed to like a freebie, they got a bona fide memorable night.
Costello I won't write into the ground since Nick and Julie have both done right by him. His short set will provide about a 10-minute taste of televised pleasure later this year, but don't wait for it to see him.
Lowe appeared with some cultists' idea of a supergroup — Pink Fairy Larry Wallis, The Rumour's Martin Belmont and Elvis and his drummer. So It Goes compere Tony Wilson leapt around at the back cheerleading — and who could blame him? With only three numbers, it was merely a tantalising taste.
The new songs "Shake And Pop" and "Music For Money," drip with Lowe's cynicism while he trots out the naively explosive rock like a reckless kid. Then, albeit at the TV people's urging, he had the balls to drop down to a lovely depressant in "Endless Sleep." All hot stuff.
Finally it was Edmunds' turn up with Lowe, drummer Terry Williams and guitarist Billy Bremner. It's going to be a crime if this really was the last blast from this band intact, and on this showing it's a mystery why the Get It album isn't in the top of the charts.
From the album we got a cooking "I Knew the Bride," "Back To School Days" and "Ju Ju Man," with Edmunds singing sweet and dirty over Lowe's raunchy support. Edmunds did his best to be self-effacing, giving Lowe full credit for providing a hit in "I Knew the Bride" and handing him the spotlight for a rather plodding "Love So Fine," a Berry-like variant of "Shake And Pop" in "Let It Rock," and a brilliant, blasting "Heart Of The City."
But he's just great himself. Edmunds' frantic "Promised Land" vocals put Presley to shame, and his guitar work in that number was extremely sharp. "I Hear You Knockin'" was steamy too, proving he can pull out the goods himself.
Where he does himself in is in sharing the spotlight just a little too much. "Mess Of The Blues," for instance, was a lot of fun but rather aptly titled, with Bremner gritty but definitely shaky on vocals, while the chaotic, everybody-back-on-for-a-jam encores should have been drawn from Rockpile originals. Instead we had Bremner back on vocals for "Rip It Up" and "Bye Bye Johnny" and a rapid descent into the boogie maelstrom.
Never mind, who cares. It was a bloody riot, that's all, and an exceptional night for hip-shakin' like you hardly ever see.
It's a crying shame Stiff and Swansong can't kiss and make up. Unfortunately, it isn't only rock 'n' roll, but for those who were there that was the only thing on show.