Nick Lowe Credit: courtesy the artist

Though at first glance the matching suits and Mexican wrestling masks favored by Los Straitjackets might point to the contrary, the Nashville instrumental rock group are anything but a one-note gimmick. If their novelties got your attention, more power to them, but with or without the visuals, Los Straitjackets do a fantastic job extending the legacy of late-50s instrumental groups such as the Ventures and the Fireballs. Led by guitarist Eddie Angel, last year they released What’s So Funny About Peace, Love and . . . Los Straitjackets, a smart tribute to veteran musician, songwriter, and producer Nick Lowe—the band backed him on April’s Tokyo Bay/Crying Inside, and they’ve been touring with throughout 2018. Not only does the album prove the group to be a fitting counterpart for Lowe, it shows the durability of Lowe’s melodies when reinterpreted as instrumentals. If there’s ever room enough to change the arrangement of a song, Los Straitjackets will certainly find it: on “Heart of the City” they give a bluesy makeover to one of Lowe’s more punk-flavored originals, while their take on “Cruel to Be Kind” transforms the original happy-go-lucky power-pop number into a Duane Eddy-style love ballad. And as anybody who witnessed the Lowe/Straitjackets show at Fitzgerald’s last summer will recall, in a live setting Angel and company give the songwriter the kick his great material require. Tonight they’re ringing in the new year, so it might be just a little too late for them to perform anything from Lowe’s 2013 Christmas album, Quality Street—but it’s not too late for a quality show.   v