Friday, 15 May 2009
Low Anthem from sofa at the Slaughtered Lamb
Attending a gig at the Slaughtered Lamb in Farringdon is a little like being in a big room in someone's house with some favourite musicians playing within arms' reach. We sat on sofas and comfortable chairs to hear The Low Anthem and their excellent support act Ohbijou.
The pub above the venue is wide and spacious, with lively chatter spilling out onto the pavement and then down the stairway at the back is the small door to the performance area where around 100 of us watched the bands perform.
Kicking off with the multi-talented Ohbijou, who played and passed the instruments around almost at will. Canadian, from the other London, a seven piece mini orchestra of sounds, from violins, guitars, mandolins, ukuleles, banjos, synths and pretty much anything else they could lay their hands on. A worthy band in their own right, my only criticism would be that their CDs were not available at the end when I would have just bought one.
A short pause to recharge our glasses (Red Stripe seems to be the indie venue beer, same as at Union Chapel) and then The Low Anthem came to the floor, easing their way into "Cage the Songbird" whilst the sound system adjusted.
I've had their 'Oh My God, Charlie Darwin' album for a couple of months and its frequently on my play list, so it was a treat to hear several numbers from this and also from their older and more dusty cattle herding 'What the Crow Brings'. Mysteriously they referred to their more recent album as the one due to be released in June, but I gather they've got a different distribution deal now. They are, indeed, to hold a launch gig in Union Chapel around June 23rd for the CD which they described as gospel with science.
The Providence, Rhode Island band is a three piece, with talented musicians who each are able to play multiple instruments. The highly animated bassist Jeff Prystowsky can also fire out great drum patterns and pedals a cool pump organ (pub chat suggests this was an eBay purchase?), the lead singer Ben Knox-Miller is a guitarist who has a superb voice and vocal range and the saxophonist Jocie Adams can also NASA blast a mean bass riff and counterpoint the rocky and bluesy numbers with real grit and gusto.
The little gang of us that attended sat in arms length of the band, enjoying every minute. As we left we briefly complemented the band in the bar, before hitting the interweb to ensure we have tix for the CD launch.
And here's something to the Ghosts who write History Books.
p.s. They are at Koko tonight, supporting Ben Kweller.
oh, and were at the London Eye