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LIVE REVIEW: Cathedral, Manchester (The Fly)

[ 0 ] March 16, 2012 |

Manchester Cathedral InteriorCathedral, Manchester
March 6, 2012

We find ourselves in Manchester Cathedral, a huge, weathered beauty that may have stood its ground for a thousand years or more. How appropriate a place it is to see Lambchop, a band that resolutely refuse to plough anything but their own distinctive furrow. Lambchop operate on Lambchop time, and the music stands or falls on the listener’s willingness to pay attention, to engage, to listen.

Co-opting support Cortney Tidwell – who is a remarkable singer, equal parts Bjork, Bettie Serveert’s Carol van Dyk and New Pornographers’ Neko Case – and members of her band, the latest of many shifting line-ups finds frontman Kurt Wagner (himself an unlikely amalgamation of Vic Chesnutt, Curtis Mayfield and Mike Nesmith) appearing to enjoy himself as he trots out tracks from latest album ‘Mr M’. The audience, packed in like sardines, applause rippling back throughout the Cathedral, remain largely hushed in awe as the band wrestle pretty guitar lines from music that can be sometimes similar and sometimes sedentary.

It isn’t until roughly halfway through the set, however, that the band seem to emerge from under the weight of expectation and start to really have fun. New member Luke Schneider performs a tremulous ‘Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want’, after Wagner tells us it’s a tradition to humiliate the newest member of the group on tour. Pianist Tony Crow regales us with a seemingly made up ditty concerning Nashville Airport Jail. Wagner chuckles away to himself after duetting with Tidwell on ‘Soaky In The Pooper’, explaining that he loves how Tidwell sings “pooper”. And the evening climaxes with the frontman out of his seat for the first time, hat pulled low over his eyes as he barks out lyrics stolen from David Byrne like a crazed Billy Graham. Lambchop retain the power to surprise us to the end.


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Category: Press & Reviews

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