***As Merge fans know, LAMBCHOP has been on the label since 1993, releasing a string of widely varied but consistently brilliant records. But the live Lambchop experience has been somewhat elusive in the US. While the band has toured the gilded theaters of Europe and elsewhere for nearly two decades, the Nashville group has seldom toured their home country. KURT WAGNER has performed solo on a recent Yo La Tengo tour, and Lambchop supported their recent album, (OH) Ohio, as an intimately stripped-down quintet in a couple of short bursts over the last year. To help celebrate Merge’s 20th Anniversary the band showed up in one of their largest lineups in recent memory—11-strong, including multiple guitars, keyboards, piano, and a horn section. Lambchop performing live is always a powerful proposition, but on this night they started quietly with “I Will Drive Slowly” from their first album (I Hope You’re Sitting Down) and accelerated from there, each song seemingly faster and more intensely played than the last, building to a furious finale of “Up With People” and an epic “Give It.” By the end of their set, everyone in the packed Cats Cradle—band and audience both—was levitating a few inches off the ground.
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