When I listened to Lamb‘s best of album, Best Kept Secrets, in 1999 it was the musical equivalent to Tiger Balm on tired muscles after a marathon, considering I was listening to Korn and Wu-Tang Clan albums playing on rotation. Lamb opened my mind to music beyond that made by ploddy, Britpop indie bands or, in my case, angry Californians, and it certainly felt more interesting and spirited than the trip-hop coming out of Bristol although the trip-hop influence abides. This was uplifting genre-bending dance music being made by two people who met in West Didsbury and their music was probably the soundtrack for many after-parties in the late 90’s and a multitude of ‘chill-out’ sessions besides.

Now 21 years on, Lamb are back to celebrate the anniversary of their debut album, as well as showcasing new work. Admittedly, Best Kept Secrets has stayed firmly in my CD collection for the last ten years, so will Lamb have stood the test of time or are they a bit old and dusty like my CDs?

We arrive at Manchester Cathedral in time to catch Reuben, aka Joseph Efi, who is the son of Lamb’s singer, Lou Rhodes. He is stooped over a laptop, fulfilling support act duties and his small figure is engulfed by the surroundings of the Cathedral. He conducts all his music-making from his laptop and his use of technology shows how far we’ve come, considering his mum probably needed a whole studio to make the sounds he’s creating from a single, small machine. His sound, however, isn’t that groundbreaking and a cursory look on Soundcloud would provide identical music.

Next up is Hiya, that may not be what they’re called, but the internet isn’t telling me. I think the spelling and pronunciation of the bands name is more obtuse, but when they introduce themselves it sounds a lot like a friendly, Northern “Hiya”. I don’t think that is what they have in mind. Formed of two boys and two girls, Hiya look fresh out of RADA and try to make music in the same vein as Lamb – as in, sweet female lyrics alongside electronic beats but they just seem too nice and lack the edge and depth that Lamb possess.

It’s only towards the end of their set when they stop being so nice that they start to get the restless crowd’s attention, although it might be a little late as people can be overheard taking the mick out of their name and saying, “we just want to see Lamb.”

Finally by 9pm Lamb arrive: the atmosphere immediately feels a lot more like a ‘proper’ gig and less like a school assembly as the youngest people in the room were the support acts. Lou is sporting a large headdress made of sheet music and they begin to play music from their first album. My mate and I share a beer and nod appreciatively, but their sound doesn’t move me in the way it did twenty years ago, maybe because I’m older, they’re older and times have changed.

This seems like an unavoidable reality as they play a lot of old tunes and the intention of the tour is to celebrate an album that is 21 years old so the reunion feels largely for the purposes of nostalgia which, while comforting and warm like an old jumper can also just be a little boring. Am I cynical? Yes, totally. But, these are different times compared to 1996 and Lamb’s musical offerings, for me, just don’t provide quite the same musical balm needed in 2017.

Lamb: Official | Facebook | Twitter

When people ask me what music I am in to, I find it very hard to give a definitive answer because, throughout my life I have been in to all kinds of music from House to Heavy Metal. So I can safely say I am open to most things however, I would say that overall my allegiances lie with Electronic music because it covers so many genres and is constantly developing and changing. Having grown up in Manchester my musical tastes have been influenced by nights such as Electric Chair and Mr Scruff which encompasses the sounds of House, Detroit Techno, Disco, Soul, Funk and Hip Hop. As far as bands are concerned, I particularly like bands that are melodic and have a hook and a heart such as Wild Beasts. While living in London in the early noughties, I was also listening to music that didn’t really have a heart, more of a pacemaker. I was listening to Electroclash at nights such as Erol Alkan’s, Trash. I love writing about music and believe you can be honest about why you don’t like something without being disrespectful, a skill I am still learning in real life! But ultimately I understand that music needs to be experienced first, rather than intellectualised but why do one, when you can do both?