Live Music + Gig Reviews

Lemon Jelly @ Forum, London

21 February 2003

Lemon Jelly

Lemon Jelly

“A large duck and a very small flea, it’s 23,” said a chap in a spangly gold jacket as Death stood watch nearby. All eyes returned to their bingo cards, their owners hoping that this time they’d be the lucky winners. A whoop from one side of The Forum and all eyes swivelled to its source as glitterballs gently rotated overhead.

“Do we have a winner?” asked a disembodied voice from we knew not where. Death, obviously a dab hand at bingo card checking, was asked to officiate the win. With a thump of his scythe, The Grim Reaper showed his agreement – this person could indeed have two tickets to go see The Chippendales.

The packed barn’s occupants peered at each other’s cards as the game wound up, a sense of shared fun already palpable as the stage screen changed from bingo numbers to a film trailer – Lost Horizon. The pencil-moustached hero, atop a fine horse, peered up a waterfall at his loved one, far above him, as emotive music strained out of the fabulously ancient soundtrack. And then the trailer was over, to a round of applause from the bingo-playing public, and we heard the voice of an astronaut begin his spacewalk.

The happy twosome that is Lemon Jelly were soon on stage amid stacks of lights, samplers and unidentified electronic gizmos. Spacewalk’s piano riff and the astronaut’s “vocals” were on playback, but it was clear by now that Fred Deakin and Nick Franglen, together as Lemon Jelly, were obviously going against the grain – not for them a boring dance act “performance”.

Whizzing between electric cello, decks, keyboards and guitars, the Jellies meandered their way through their uniquely pastoral take on the chillout genre, airing the majority of Lost Horizons in the process, including the memorable Ramblin’ Man. They found time too for early ear pleaser Soft, featuring a sample from Chicago‘s 1976 hit If You Leave Me Now. It was at this enchanting moment that the two decided a hug and a show of lighters was necessary. Fruit gums were flung into the audience as “oooo oooo ooooooooo oooo” was heard to lift the roof.

A cranking up was in order, though, as we collectively found our way through to recent top 20 hit Nice Weather For Ducks. In the audience, a duck on a stick (“Brighton Duck,” as it became known) swayed to the lights, in its element as that wonderfully daft nursery rhyme started to the sound of rain. “All the ducks are swimming in the water,” sang just about everybody – and then it was bossanova time. Arms flailed, hips thrust and people became as neurotic flamingos, the infectious beat grabbing all and sundry and cuddling them.

There was to be no encore – not the Jellies’ style – but long-time fans were pleased with set closer “a guitar lesson” – better known as The Staunton Lick. It’s a fabulous track, and a perfect set closer for a quacking gig.

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More on Lemon Jelly
Lemon Jelly – ’64-’95
Lemon Jelly @ Forum, London
Lemon Jelly – Lost Horizons