As though pulled in by a magnetic force generating from the stage, patrons waited with universal baited breathe for the appearance of the duo Lou Rhodes and Andy Barlow. Having been in a hiatus the past few years, Lamb humbly thought that their songs and albums had become obsolete with fans. How wrong they were.
As Rhodes approached the microphone with hair tied back and understated loosely wrapped dress, we all knew we were in for something special. This woman has one the most amazingly beautiful voices, and listening to her astounding gift live, sent shivers through my body. The first note of their opening song completely transported me to the time I first heard their album, Fear Of Four, a long time ago when I went camping along the Murray River and slept by a bonfire under the stars. It is rare for a band to bring back such astute memories, but that is the kind of impact Lamb produces. Lamb’s music transcends time and space. You can close your eyes and be anywhere. It transports you with its exquisite melodies and soulful lyrics. Barlow’s infectiously rhythmic sounds (and equally as infectious stage energy) and Rhode’s magical articulation is a powerful coupling. Melancholic and sorrowful one moment, the next beat can be uplifting and joyous. But rest assured, not one soul was standing still at this gig. Bodies were swaying to the rhythm as it resounded throughout the Prince Bandroom.
It is a multi- faceted sound that outlines Lamb’s uniqueness and the reason why they have so many loyal and adoring fans.
Rhodes sang every note with the clarity of a golden bell, with a sound that was completely loyal to every album of theirs I have listened to. Lullaby, All In Your Hands, Fly and What Sound were among the tracks performed, however it was the haunting Gabriel that was savored most, for it was a true delight to see performed live. As was the closing track, Gorecki which begins with its magically melancholic pulsation and then pumps into a blissful electronic rhythm, which was aided by Barlow and their on stage cellist, who was also very impressive. With no backup band, the gig was a much more intimate and simpler one than you would have experienced a decade ago, which may well be a nod to Rhodes pull for a more uncomplicated look to very complex music – full of drum and bass, with hints of jazz and trip-hop.
Having played only one Melbourne show it was evident that Lamb appreciated the rowdy applause after each and every song, as the crowd relished every note from Rhodes’ throat and every beat from Barlow’s fingertips. It may be another few years before they visit again, yet at least they know their fans will be here waiting.