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Concert Review by Mark Bayross

Cargo, London – 24 September 2001

It takes a lot to get me out on a dreary Autumnal Monday evening, especially when the venue lurks down a shabby alley in so-hip-it-hurts Shoreditch. Fortunately, the band playing tonight are Manchester-based electronica duo Lamb and this is an “intimate” live showcase of tracks from their forthcoming third album WHAT SOUND.

Besides the throng of music journos and record industry types, a sizeable amount of the audience crammed into Cargo’s faux-industrial cavern are friends and fans of the band who have won the right to be here via a competition on their website. So, they at least don’t seem to mind being kept waiting for 40 minutes while the rest of us stare expectantly at the projected images on the screen above the stage.

When the band eventually emerge, augmented live by a drummer, lanky bassist and the new addition of a mohawked guitarist, they kick off with the album’s swirling title track, and it becomes clear how much the music takes on a life of its own in the live arena – the precision-bombing of beats halfway through the opener sends the audience into a frenzy.

Lamb certainly make for an interesting live spectacle. While Lou Rhodes stands front and centre, eyes closed in concentration, her musical partner Andy Barlow seems intent to loon about for the audience, strapping on a bongo, grimacing his way through mid-song thumperamas during THIS COULD BE HEAVEN and nearly strangling her in the process on one occasion. This blossoms into a full-on Benny Hill routine throughout SMALL, as Andy alternates between knocking out a rhythm on a drum sequencer and pulling faces.

Still, it’s good to see he’s enthusiastic, and he really has good reason to be proud. GABRIEL is a stunning song, and a superb choice of single, and ONE which closes the main set, rocks like a bastard. Special mention should also go to the bass player, who not only manages to replicate Me’shell Ndegeocello’s nimble slap-bass on SWEET, but picks up an upright for the encore of I CRY.

Despite occasionally oscillating between pretentious (there really was no need for a microphone-camera-view of Lou’s nostrils) and Andy’s hyperactive onstage antics, Lamb put on a commanding performance.

You can catch them on tour throughout the UK in October and Europe until the end of the year.