Lambchop, St George's Church, Kemp Town, 29th October 2008
Around this time last year I wrote about an Iron & Wine gig at which the polite heckle "that was brilliant, thanks!" amusingly summed up the typical contingent at Brighton's loveliest music venue, St George's Church in Kemp Town. Last night we were back at our local house of worship to venerate before Nashville legends Lambchop, at a buzzy but surprisingly not sold out show. Eccentric crooner Kurt Wagner and his mightily accomplished band took a bold risk by reeling off their latest album in its entirety - a rite (as they themselves admitted) usually reserved for classic works by iconic rockers. But it was the perfect setting in which to pull off such a move - the courteous middle class crowd sitting in quite reverence, gracefully accepting the new material, then exploding into appreciative applause on cue. Wagner seemed genuinely touched and surprised at how well it went down, and rewarded us with an extended encore of old favourites plus an unexpected and utterly genius cover of Talking Heads' 'Once in a Lifetime'.
Video by Dan Peters on Flickr.
I can't speak for the rest of the audience, but personally I hadn't had a chance to give the new album a listen before the gig - it had only been out a week or so before I disappeared to Hungary. I've always enjoyed the laid-back introspective offerings of Lambchop's previous (and prolific) material, but was pleasantly surprised at the more upbeat selection played last night - loungy and soulful, and peppered with the usual country and post-rock influences, it certainly tickled my own particular musical taste buds. It's not often you get to hear a new album for the first time in this context, and it felt like a rare privilege indeed.