Sunday, 21 June 2009

My concert experience: Lamb + Plaid

Day 3! Blessed be this day! Park Live Fest reached its final, which was spectacular and put to sleep all my dissatisfaction with the previous two festival days. Despite all the preparation I was taken by surprise and enjoyed myself as never before. The final three acts blew our tops and on my way out of the venue I didn't want to come to terms with the sad reality - it was over. To me Lamb was the festival's culmination and the reason I bought the ticket at first place. Hats down for Tricky's achievements and the originality of Roots Manuva, but the Manchester duo of Lou Rhodes and Andy Barlow was my personal highlight!

Before I continue with the praise I should mention a few things about the other acts that I got to watch. I was quite late for evening number three and had missed out Gaz Cobain from Future Sound of London and the Bulgarians Phuture Shock, but the rest was to come. I admit I missed for most of their performance the Brits from Crazy P (the P stands for Penis), but manage to catch the last few songs and get a proper idea of their stage presence. Crazy P had already heated up the venue with some groovy dance tracks and the astonishing magnetism of their lead singer Danielle Moore. There was chemistry between the audience and Crazy P and and no doubt people actually wanted them to keep on rocking.

An act away from my "meeting" with Lamb the weather took an unpleasant turn and as soon as Plaid began their set heavy clouds were lazily making themselves comfortable above out heads. After a few tracks rain started pouring down, but this made us come together closer to the stage and give in to the rhythm of IDM. Shame on me, shame, shame! I made no effort to check Plaid's music beforehand and felt really dumb being there first row and shaking with all the guilt on my mind. The guys turned out to have plenty of cool stuff and the positive vibes were in the air despite the heavy cold drops and lightnings in the distance. The weather condition perfectly matched with the essence of Plaid's music and the constantly changing backdrops. I have never expected to enjoy that much something I heard for the first time in my life. Even if I never get to listen to them home they can count on my fan support. My first, and hopefully not last encounter face to face with Warp members (fingers crossed for Aphex Twin).

The moment of truth! One of the most influential trip-hop bands was just about to perform. I've awaited them since I've been interested in the whole scene, going back as further as the end of the 90s. Lamb is one of those bands that I fell in love with the first listen. Nothing could ruin the evening, neither the rain, nor the technical problems they experienced. For the record Lamb had the same sound-system problem as Tricky and Roots Manuva previously: blasting bass beats. Just a few moments before they were due to come on stage their bass broke, which meant additional twenty minutes of wait. The audience applauded every chance of the concert to begin, which after half an hour of clapping and cheering seemed like forever to take.

Darkness. Lou Rhodes, Andy Barlow and a support live member (I think they called him Jeff) covered us with the dark serenity of their music. "Darkness" was their opener! Followed immediately by my personal favourite "B Line", which came to my brains as a rush of warm blood. Despite all the technical difficulties they had with Live Park's equipment live Lamb were amazing! They topped my expectations with the perfect list of songs they chose to perform live, as well as with the fine harmony between Lou's distinctive voice and Andy's music renditions. Going back to the concert the setlist continued with a string of greatest hits among which "Heaven", "What Sound" and "Angelica". "Heaven" was the first song to be sung by the audience, which went nuts as soon as Lamb came to stage.

Andy Barlow was amazing! I have never expected him to be that energetic and jolly, with a wide smile on his face, jumping all around. He was so excited that he even jumped in the crowd, which could have easily torn him apart. Don't worry, we kept him alive just for the sake of other fans around the globe. Andy is the coolest dude I have seen in concert! Definitely! Lou Rhodes on the other hand held back a little, but her constant smile on the face and the cute way she was saying all the time "Thank you" in Bulgarian made the distance always invisible. I think that they were very pleasantly surprised by the warm welcome and the way we appreciated their music. I am not being judgmental but I had the feeling that they didn't expect Bulgaria to be best place to find such an excellent audience, which in fact was fond of the duo's music.

Lamb's highlight was the performance of their highly anticipated song "Gorecki", which was virtually sang the by everyone. But the big surprise came with "Gabriel", which I should admit made me cry. So touching and so real, the whole atmosphere just made the tears come out on their own. It was raining, one could feel the warmth of the crowd and with Lou heavenly singing
"I can fly
But I want his wings
I can shine even in the darkness
But I crave the light that he brings
Revel in the songs that he sings
My angel Gabriel"
create a whole that words fail to describe! My personal favourite!

Lamb had two encores, putting an end of their concert and the open-air part of Park Live Fest 2009 with "Stay". A poetic promise that this performance will always stay in their hearts and I can promise them that Lamb live in Sofia will be long remembered by everyone who spent the whole rainy evening with this amazing band! If you still haven't seen them live hurry up, cause you never know what will happen with them after the end of their tour.

"God bless", they shall return!

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