with Kid Kenobi
Enmore, Sydney, Australia • April 16, 2002
Lamb are an oft-misunderstood band. Known by some as “That girl with the weird voice,” sneered at by others as a cheap imitation of Portishead, they’ve really never been the center of attention. They’ve soldiered on regardless, though, and tonight, 3 000 people are glad they did. In the packed Enmore, all eyes are on stage: the husky charisma of Lou Rhodes (vocals) and the exuberant energy of Andy Barlow (knob twiddling, keys) has taken over. Already massaged by hours of chilled beats and breaks courtesy of support DJ Kid Kenobi, a cornucopia of Sydney’s most extravagant and hip know they’re in for a treat from the first plaintive note of Rhodes’ red wine voice.
“We’ve waited so long to come here,” Rhodes purrs, and the crowd feel all fuzzy inside, as luscious stabs of double bass reverberate. Lamb have brought a full band with them, and the energy of three extra stage-players is fierce. A blind eye is turned to Andy’s soccer-hooligan yelling at less-than-appropriate intervals: he’s having fun, and that’s all that matters. Besides, his audio manipulation (accompanied tonight by a stunning, psychedelic backdrop of manipulated live visuals) is definitive proof that there’s more to Lamb than grinning enthusiasm.
By the time Lamb return for their first encore, the buzzing audience is wet from sweat and tears (Lou delivered a stunningly emotional rendition of their new release, “Gabriel,” moments earlier). As the opening chords of “Gorecki” — their mid-nineties ambient classic — fill the room, a majestic hush falls. Perhaps it’s the bout of spontaneous meditation Andy just led us in that is allowing the music to resonate so deeply, or maybe it’s the look on Lou’s face, illuminated by the camera and hanging from the wall behind her. Gorecki seeps into the air and I count a dozen people around me sobbing. No wonder Lamb aren’t too worried about their reputation.