Lemon Jelly Live
Lemon Jelly Live @ The Cockpit 23.10.02

Having come to love their first album in the comfort of my own home I was a little uneasy about what Lemon Jelly would produce "live" Having seen bands live who have built their sound using samples before I was hoping that Lemon Jelly could prove to me that it was possible to make the crossover. Unfortunately they failed to answer the fundamental question, why bother?

A couple of years ago when Fila Brazillia decided to tour with a live show, they formed and rehearsed a full live band and as a result they managed to provide a really intriguing spectacle. They were joined in the endeavor by label mates Baby Mammoth who managed to pull it off with even greater aplomb.

Lemon Jelly Live @ 93 Feet East 23.10.02 available @ www.contactmusic.com

Seeing a band play selected instrumentation live over a backing track with added triggered samples is just not a soulful experience. All the energy of witnessing the music, with all it's free expressions, is washed out by the soulless nature of the backing loops. I was left pondering upon whether there was a drum and percussionists union who should be up in arms about "un-live beats", surely there are enough skilful drummers out there who could join a line-up like Lemon Jelly's and bring the music to life?

I felt Lemon Jelly fell between two stools with their live presentation. On the one hand they were shifting some heavy beats through the PA and the remixes of popular tracks were a welcome inclusion which actually managed to raise the excitement several degrees, on the other they were filtering in small amounts of live instrumentation which certainly added extra intimacy, although, the mixture of these two opposing forces was not smartly executed.

To see them play much more acoustic versions of their popular tunes in a more "folk" atmosphere could have been a real treat which could have only endeared them more with the obviously loyal and appreciative fans. In the same respect to see them with a full line up of musicians and the computers left at home, like say "Zero 7", would bring the music to life so much more and create a live performance to write home about.

Before you get to thinking I am just a miserable sod I will add that as a live animal the Lemon Jelly show is very much still in it's infancy, my advice to the band would be to take a look at how other more gig savvy studio based acts manage to tame their live shows.

Aside from the music, Lemon Jelly are well known for their graphic design work and in this respect they did not disappoint. The new album cover formed the theme for the visuals and provided an uplifting atmosphere for the inflatable hammer wielding fans. The free T-shirt was a great bonus but it is a shame that it was this and not the memory of the performance that I will take away with me from the night and cherish.