Gig review: Lambchop at Brudenell Social Club, Leeds

Kurt Wagner of Lambchop. Picture: Joanna Bongard
Kurt Wagner of Lambchop. Picture: Joanna Bongard
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Tonight’s encore reminds me of the scene from the big screen adaptation of Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity; record store owner Rob and his equally musically snobbish staff Barry and Dick discussing their favourite side one, track one songs, leading to predictable results with inevitable arguments along the way.

With this in mind one wonders how many music fans in say 50 years’ time, will include Lambchop’s 11-minute opener to their last album ‘FLOTUS’ (an acronym of For Love Often Turns Us Still), the supremely loquacious ‘In Care of 8675309’ a heartbreakingly tender ode to an imminently departing partner following a lifetime together.

Considering the pre-gig request sent to and read out by Lambchop frontman Kurt Wagner on his re-emergence following a soothingly intimate Brudenell set, imploring the band to perform this very song as a dedication to her recently engaged daughter and husband to be; all in attendance at a packed Brudenell this evening, one certainly hopes the lengthy number will remain in at least those three people’s lists.

The fluid collective that is Lambchop has evolved during their lengthy existence, drifting from country tinged beginnings betraying their Nashville origins, ever closer to the chill-out zone inhabited by their more recent jazzier material.

Tonight’s Brudenell date also kick-starts their current fortnight long UK tour, the band in its most stripped back form, just Wagner (vocals, guitar, gadgets), Matt Swanson (bass) and Tony Crow (piano), the set list drawing heavily from their most recent release including ‘Writer’, ‘Old Masters’, ‘The Hustle’ and ‘JFK’.

Not surprisingly, the Hyde Park venue’s intimacy once more proves the perfect setting for Kurt’s sardonic melancholy, his electronically enhanced crooning and understated guitar complemented by Swanson’s elegant bass lines, as Crow’s exquisite piano expertly deploys sprinkles of fairy dust around the edges, their assured performance guaranteeing the warmest of receptions.