Concert Review: Lambchop at the Beachland Ballroom

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“We’re from Nashville and, if you liked us, we’re Lambchop," said frontman Kurt Wagner at the Beachland Ballroom last night. "If for any reason you’re disappointed, we are Kings of Leon.”

Lambchop proved capable of providing levity to a set heavy on themes of loss and death – largely culled from this year’s Mr. M – they just took their grand old time getting there, like waiting for an answer at a nursing home patient’s door.

Patience is key; it took 50-odd minutes of slow, rambling tunes laid barren – parted neatly on a musical plate for the gracious crowd to digest at their leisure – before the band really addressed and embraced the audience. The five-man band was arranged in a semicircle, suggesting their fondness for symmetry or maybe that the fans were the center of this affair.

Dedicated to Vic Chesnutt, who graced this stage not long before his passing on Christmas 2009, Mr. M is a pot of hot water sitting on a stove, perpetually a few degrees under boiling temperature. As with Wagner and company’s albums, it’s concerned with the day-to-day routines of simple folk, never once jolting out of queue in the coffee shop.

If there were any disappointed fans at the show, it would be those that longed for Nixon-era grandiosity in the form of a more full-bodied, tentacle-armed band grabbing choice cuts from the past two decades. Save your V signs: We were given a performance that was all drum brushes, a Nord Electro yawning out organ sounds, sly basslines, ‘70s lounge piano, and light guitar strumming.

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