Lambchop played Brighton Music Hall – 3/28

Kurt Wagner brought his ever-shapeshifting Lambchop back to Boston last Tuesday night with support from Animal Hospital. 

Lambchop has long been a project where a major gear-shift between releases comes as no surprise, but last year’s FLOTUS is arguably their biggest surprise yet. Awash in auto-tune and subdued electronic textures, and sporting a sprawling 18-minute closer, it’s a record that bears little resemblance to the alt-country, lounge pop and chamber folk stylings the band has explored in the past. Bandleader Wagner’s singular voice and oddly poignant lyrics remain, however, and the end result is still unmistakably Lambchop, even in a new sonic guise.

Much like the band did when last gracing our fair city on the Mr. M tour in 2012, the quartet leaned heavy into the new material and put faith in the crowd to come along for the ride. That can be a risky proposition for a cult favorite band with a miles-deep discography, but the set was met largely with hushed reverence (save for the one guy blacked out on vodka-Red Bulls, but even his heart was in the right place).

The live arrangements split the difference between the LP’s immersive electronic palette and a more traditional full-band sound, expertly executed by a lineup which now wisely includes Wye Oak’s multi-talented Andy Stack on drums. Wagner conducted from the rear of the stage, often taking to the mic without a guitar in hand for surprisingly emotive vocal turns. The songs unfailingly sounded gorgeous, and had me lamenting that Lambchop don’t make their way to Massachusetts more often.

Kevin Micka’s opening set as Animal Hospital criss-crossed processed guitar tones with glitchy electronic soundscapes in a performance finely suited as an appetizer for the newly digitized Lambchop.

Check out photos from both sets below.