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Lemon Jelly: Caught live at Somerset House


Review: Jack Foley

SIMON & Garfunkel may have been delighting fans in Hyde Park, with their nostalgia-laden Summer tunes, but Lemon Jelly provided a fitting alternative at Somerset House on Thursday (July 15, 2004), when they brought their technicolour delights to a grey evening.

Jovial duo, Nick Franglen and Fred Deakin, must be the happiest Djs in the world; still caught up in the bemused bewilderment of how their success seems to grow and grow, yet modest enough not to allow it to go to their heads.

Their set-list was littered with gratitude for the adoring crowd, and for the fact that the heavens hadn’t opened, on this wet and miserable Summer.

But cheer was in abundance from the moment Lemon Jelly kicked off, sending their fans into wobbles of giddy delight as they pumped things up a little, and inserted bigger dance beats into their usually chilled out tapestry of sounds.

They even dubbed themselves ‘Death Jelly’ at one point, a tag which had the crowd chanting it back with mocking delight whenever things slowed down a little.

Anyone who has ever seen a Lemon Jelly live date will know what to expect. The same delirious mix of beats, scratches and quirky samples, recreated partially with live instruments, and a lush set of visuals projected onto the big screen above the stage.

On this occasion, the white walls of Somerset House also provided a backdrop as rabbits, ducks, dolphins and computer-generated men, walked around, or bopped, to the tantalising beats that were being dropped.

All of the classics were in place - some of them funked up, others played to perfection - with highlights including the seminal In The Bath, the obligatory Nice Weather For Ducks, the dream-like Spacewalk and the boisterous Rambling Man.

But they also showcased some new material from the upcoming third album, which gave everyone even more cause to feel excited.

And while the names of tracks weren’t announced, ‘Mr Fred and Mr Nick’, as they referred to each other, suggested that they had gone sample crazy, while also enlisting the services of a support singer for the first time in their history.

The singer in question was young soul sensation, Terri Walker, and she appeared with them for one song, giddily rushing onto the stage, like an excited schoolgirl, and then proceeding to deliver the kind of soft, vocal accompaniment to those laidback Jelly beats in a style that would make Morcheeba’s lead singer green with envy.

The track was an instant classic, the type which makes you want to rush out and buy the album - were it available.

Of the other new stuff, a ‘shouty one’, featuring a crashing beat and electric guitars, hinted at a change of direction, while another, at the start of the encore, bore all the hallmarks of classic feel-good Lemon Jelly.

And just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, they duly delivered The Staunton Lick, which has to rate as one of the all-time classic records of our generation. If there is a more sublime moment than when the beat first kicks in, then I would love to hear it.

Lemon Jelly served up the musical equivalent of a naughty dessert; a mouth-watering feast of sugar-coated candy that couldn’t help but put a smile on your face. It was little wonder that even after they were finished, the crowd still wanted more…

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