Not only is Richard Lloyd everything a rock ‘n’ roll guitarist should be–he also sings and writes fine songs. It took him a while to get it together, though. After spending the late 70s as Tom Verlaine’s foil in their old (and great) band Television, Lloyd had some drug problems that put him out of action for a while. But just when everybody was starting to forget about him, he burst out with Field of Fire, the most unexpectedly fine LP of 1985, which revealed a clean, mature artist confidently outdoing himself. His 1986 gig at the West End fulfilled the album’s promise thoroughly. Lloyd’s new songs–a series of unpretentious tunes based on what sound like mid-70s hard-rock riffs–afford plenty of room for his richly emotional guitar playing. And along with Verlaine, Chris Spedding, the late Snakefinger, and a number of others, Lloyd has been one of the few rock guitarists able to really sustain interest in a long improvisation within a mainstream rock framework. The new and wonderful live album, Real Time, demonstrates it again: Lloyd doesn’t succumb to empty flash, boring blues licks, pseudointellectual pomposity, or snobbish “jazz” posing. His best moments are magical. Saturday, 7:30 PM, Riviera Night Club, 4746 N. Racine; 769-6300.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Ken Collins.