Lamb + The Ramona Flowers @ The Institute, 30th October 2014


Lamb are an electronica duo that consist of Lou Rhodes on vocals and Andy Barlow on samples, who have been making music together on and off for the last eighteen years or so. The two-piece take to the stage along with a hobbling bass player Jon Thorne and embark on a track taken from their latest album Backspace and Unwind. Lou’s stage presence is enhanced by her outfit, a voluminous white dress that is reminiscent of a Greek goddess, which contrasts with the lighting and adds to the ethereal quality of her vocals.

The first two tracks, In Binary and We Fall In Love are from their latest album, Backspace Unwind. Both songs have that distinctive Lamb sound, layered electronic samples with haunting vocals that are often juxtaposed to the rhythm. As We Fall In Love breaks down, Andy Barlow encourages the crowd to participate and get on board with the track and as the song builds towards the end you can see the band members communicating to ensure a complete finale.


Lamb draw in an eclectic mixture of people, all of which respond to Barlow’s enthusiasm and Rhodes’ comparison with Brighton the night before, but it is clearly the older tracks that gain the greatest reactions, Little Things from Fear of Fours and B Line being such tracks. Jon Thorne swaps easily between bass guitar and an electric double bass and at times they come into prominence particularly during Stronger demonstrating his competency.

Throughout the set, you are aware that Rhodes uses effects on her vocals yet she exudes such a delicate power that there is never any need for another vocalist, and, even though she tends to sing within an alto range, she has the capacity to reach a higher register which carries such intensity as it isn’t over used. It turns out that Thorne isn’t the only ill member of the Lamb crew, unfortunately their lighting technician is off sick and the in house lighting man does an admirable job creating effective lighting patterns to each track; even managing to provide strobes at a moment’s notice for the final track of the main set, Seven Sails. However, the outstanding song of the main set is Gabriel, which sees the pace slow down and Lamb’s true capabilities at song writing flow.


The band only leave the stage for a moment and return with a blinder of a three song encore.  Starting with What Sound? Lamb play with tempo and arrangements to maximum effect, the contrast between sampled strings and the drum pattern create a magnificent piece of music.  During the track, Rhodes takes to a stand-alone drum at the front of the stage whilst Andy moves onto a drum kit, this is where you appreciate the weight provided by live drums that sometimes are missing through samples.


Before starting What Sound? and God Bless, a female member of the audience bravely sings the first line of Gorecki which is rewarded by the band as being the final track of the night.  Gorecki is one of the finest love songs ever written and should be heard by everyone. In a live environment, its beauty is overwhelming and the gradual crescendo sees Andy take to the solo drum as Gorecki reaches its pinnacle adding further to the intensity of the song.


As the track begins to fade, you find yourself wishing the song was another few minutes longer but, alas, it finishes to rapturous applause.  Lamb complete the evening with an exquisite piece of perfection.  To be honest, I would have been happy with just the final three songs so anything that went before was an utter bonus.

Photographs: Ian Dunn

Words: Toni Woodward

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