lambchop and josh rouse.. live @ the exit/in 1999.12.11

You have to be in a mood to appreciate Lambchop fully. You have to be willing to give a fair amount of attention to them and their atmospheric country.

I was in such a mood last night. Having a bellyful of my favorite brown ale and having come to the show alone, I was ready for the quiet strains of the band.

Lambchop shares a kinship with bands such as the Tindersticks, Palace, and even Nick Cave. If this sounds a little strange to people who know Nick Cave’s Birthday Party, think The Boatman’s Call or Murder Ballads to an extent. Lambchop began with a murder ballad of their own, ‘The Butcher Boy.’ The song built slowly from the band tuning up into an eerie, compelling sound.

The sheer number of band members and instrumentation always seems a bit overwhelming so it is quite impressive that their sound is so cohesive.

From the darkness comes light. Lambchop aren’t as gloomy as their indie-country brethren. Kurt introduced one song as being about Vic Chesnut’s old gold shoes, and they banged out a song called, ‘Your Face, My Ass’ to end the show, displaying the band’s sense of humor.

I had never seen Josh Rouse before, but was wary since in this town a billing with just a person’s name usually implies that a jerk with an acoustic guitar is going to get up and bore the hell out of me. Josh and his band did no such thing. His songs are tuneful and tasteful, no guitar solos, pleasant harmonies with his band members (especially his fetching bass player), and catchy hooks. His sound was something of an easy-going indie-rock. The vocals, feminine in a way, were charismatic but not overbearing. The music was a great complement to Lambchop’s, not similar to make you think you’d just heard it, but not so disparate in mood that you felt like you were at a different show. Altogether it was quietly charming.