Lulu & The Lampshades – Live at Night & Day Cafe, Manchester 08/02/2011

Review by Zandra Klievens


Lulu and the Lampshades are made up of members, Luisa, Heloise, Jemma and Dan. There appears to be much talk of their happy and bright musical jaunts that have been arranged in some cut and paste fashion leaving a slap dash smile on your face.

They appear to have left a colourful mark on the somewhat greying and falling realms of folk (although there always seems to be greyish areas in folk, after all folk is the art of contemplation not immediacy).

From looking at Lulu and the Lampshades they don’t appear to be in a gang, they just appear to be on stage. There is a sense that they look as higgilty piggilty as they sound; this is not necessarily a bad thing, rather, the term eclectic can be used. I feel that as a band they have no aspiration to dress the pages of some music magazine full of gloss and consumerism.

There is a definite energy to the band. When playing ‘Feet to the Sky’, the vocals at the beginning are unreserved and full of character. The music doesn’t require perfection, it could easily get lost in the pace, but they seem to have perfected looseness. The brashness of the drums, coarse and ringing, is essential to the overall charm of the band.

‘Cold Water’ comes off very well. The percussive vocals ringing out, never failing to sound dull and the jingle jangle of everything else keeping breezy and without restraint. The vocals and pronunciation of Luisa very much remind me of Lilly Allen/Kate Nash, rounded and full.

In contrast the rest of the vocals have a more classic sound adding to the richness of it all. The effect of their music is like being sun basked in a field, the sounds are like pollen, hazy and undefined.

After an unresting set they play, ‘Cups/You’re Gonna Miss Me.’ Playing their cups in a percussive way, it’s only really appreciated to the full extent when you can actually see them whizz and whack away. It’s rather impressive that their raw harmonised vocals are not affected by their demanding concentration on playing cups and knowing that if they broke it the end of the song would never arrive, but I think they use plastic ones anyway.

I’m not sure where I would put Lulu and the Lampshades by the end of the year. They have an original ramshackle sound, but I can’t imagine seeing them other than in small places that allow for an intimate gig.


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