Jamie Lidell, Edinburgh Liquid Rooms, April 26, 2008
Two days before the release of his new LP Jim, Jamie Lidell bought his show to Edinburgh’s Liquid Rooms. In the space of less than an hour, this absolute genius and his band unveiled a show that demonstrates why it is time for the public to come forward and take him to their hearts.
As with Jim, the set started with ‘Another Day.’ It feels like the gentlest call of arms you will ever hear on vinyl. However, live with the help of his band the song is reinvented. Particularly with the aid of his saxophonist who appears to be playing two saxophones at once (and yes, I was stone cold sober). Though the album was two days from being officially released (how much currency does that phrase still have in this age of internet leaks?), it was interesting to see and hear how different it was from the album versions.
He is clearly hugely excited to be touring with a band, though a different set-up from that which he recorded Jim with, and it’s clear just how much fun the band are having. Talking to him backstage a few hours earlier, though he was still shatered from the rpevious night’s gig in Glasgow, and concerned about his voice, there was no mistaking how much enthusiasm he has for this current project.
Nor should it be assumed, though, that he has forgotten his background in electronic music. There is an ‘electronic workout’ (where the band take off into the crowd as Lidell is left onstage alone, sampling his own voice and turning the atmosphere from seventies soul revue into a contemporary club setting. Staggering and amazing moth in terms of watching and hearing.
Whilst the album is respectful in its doffing of an aesthetic cap to soul giants like Marvin Gaye, Isaac Hayes and most of all, Stevie Wonder, live with his band, Jamie Lidell clearly demonstartes the funk in a way reminiscent of Parliament-Funkadelic. Impressive for anyone (but has been commented to the point of boredom, as a Caucasian Englishman, this feat is something else. Especially given that he sounds nothing like Jamiroquai or Simply Red).
Encoring with a version of ‘Multiply’ the title track of his break-through LP from 2005, the song is much quicker than on record, and yet just as effective. Jamie Lidell is an astonishing musician and performer. This is certainly the best gig I have been to this year, and if this really is the last Triptych, the organisers were wise to book him.