Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Lambchop with a side order of curate’s egg

.... Oh and Hold the Noodles

4th Nov Union Chapel Islington.

To the Union chapel with BLBW (who's got a new book you can order to have delivered next year).

Can I say from the start that I’m not a Lambchop aficionado but I enjoy going to gigs that are unknown territory every now again.

The support were “Paper Cups” who area young lad (the son of the piano player from Lambchop) who treated us to half an hour of vocalless “bedroom guitar”. Lots of intricate picking and effects which although technical accomplished was strangely uninvolving, it didn’t help that the last tune was called “Crystal Palace” which probably sounds ethereal to an American freed from it’s associations with Penge and the Eagles.

In short order Lambchop ambled on almost unnoticed and we had to be encouraged to give them a cheer!

This is where the curate’s egg comes in as the first 50 minutes or so were new songs (all their songs are mostly new to me) which unfortunately seemed to all played on a laid back noodley jazz country vibe. The first part of the set lacked any dynamic and sort of blended into a mass.
Kurt Wagner more so than on record has a vocal style that’s going towards affectation where he swallows the last word of every line, which to my ears grated. It was all slightly passionless which was strange as between songs Wagner would whoop and cheer as if he’d just finished singing “Born to run”.
Between every other song we also got the sort of intra band wackiness that American bands seem to do which is endearing if you are enjoying the band but annoys if you are not. You know the sort of jokes that would get you bottled off at comedy gig but get roars of laughter at music venues. It was all good natured and the crowd enjoyed so it may have been just me.

Luckily the music picked up in the last 5-6 songs which were older material and covers. This is not just because they were recognisable but because the band realised there were 7 people on the stage and put some oomph some energy into their playing. I’m not saying we need 10 minutes guitar works out all the time but as PB said if you’ve got 30 plus strings on stage why not use them? You do have to wonder about a gig where the drummer doesn’t even break sweat.

So in the end a patchy evening and one maybe for more ardent fans I doubt Lambchop will change having been a round for ages but maybe they can save the noodling and joshing for the rehearsal room and bring more groove to their live performances.

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