LUMP | LIVE REVIEW
Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff Bay, Fri 8 June
Taking to the stage in a venue that seems to dwarf their relatively meagre setup, LUMP – a new collaboration between Laura Marling and Tunng man Mike Lindsay, backed by two touring musicians for live gigs – do more than enough to fill out the Wales Millennium Centre. Having been regularly releasing music for 10 years now, Laura Marling has grown in leaps and bounds with every album, and LUMP, the self-titled debut, is another big step forward, now fusing her ethereal and imaginative lyricism with Lindsay’s nocturnal, psychedelic soundscapes. It is a glorious collaboration, pitched somewhere between the 3am glow of Fever Ray’s debut and something more distinctly English and pastoral – I’m tempted to say folktronica but that’s a stupid word, so I won’t.
With the debut album running at just over half-an-hour (it’s six songs plus credits, with the duo imaginatively reciting the credits at the end, presumably as a riposte to the Spotify age where we increasingly approach music with almost no context as to who wrote or performed on an album), this reviewer was curious to see how they would approach a live setting – would they draw on Marling or Lindsay’s back catalogue, adapting them to the LUMP style?
The answer, it turns out, is that they didn’t. The four-piece on stage played the album from start to finish onstage, elongating sections into jams and so forth. The result was excellent, with the clarity of the WMC’s acoustics providing full colour to the subtlety and detail in the music. Marling herself was in fine voice – an almost static figure onstage, she nevertheless maintains a unique charisma when she’s singing, holding the audience’s attention with ease. Her lyrics, vivid with imagery and colour, were done justice by the band’s tightness and sonic imagination.
Yet it was all over after about 45, 50 minutes. Starting at eight, with no support act, it’s hard not to feel a little short-changed, especially as the cheapest tickets were £17.50. Whilst I respect what was probably LUMP’s decision to focus only on LUMP songs, ignoring the presence of Lindsay and Marling’s sizeable back catalogues, to do so in a venue like the WMC with tickets at the prices at that level, with no encore or support act (and the crowd were very keen on an encore), it’s hard to suggest that this represents great value for money. Perhaps this is more of an organisational issue, but it’s something that you’d hope would have been planned for. It’s a shame, because this was otherwise an excellent gig.
LUMP performed as part of the Festival Of Voice
words FEDOR TOT photos EMMA LEWIS