I WAS THERE: Jamie Lidell Switches to Mad Scientist Mode At Le Poisson Rouge’s Warp Anniversary Party, His First Solo Show In Forever

Words and photos by Andrew Parks

Pure camp. That’s the path Jamie Lidell embraced last year–intentional or not–as he turned the robust R&B tracks of Jim into his very own Saturday Night at the Apollo. It was as if Lidell heard the criticisms of his blue-eyed soul side and decided to drop Multiply‘s diabolical “Dock of the Bay” nods for something even simpler: soulful shower songs, best paired with tall Bloody Marys and bleary-eyed Sunday mornings.

That’s impressive and all, but we couldn’t help but miss Lidell’s mad scientist side as he dropped the sheer hysteria of his solo shows for a proper band. Fast forward to the closing night party of Warp’s 20th anniversary celebration and we’re suddenly back in 2005, watching Lidell bounce between the center stage spotlight and racks of buttons and knobs. Surprisingly enough, Lidell avoided Jim altogether and dove right into a somewhat conservative spin on his old Multiply sets–every time things threatened to teeter over the edge, he reined those manic tendencies in for something a tad more tuneful.

Good stuff indeed, but we’d still like to see something as genre-less and downright mad as Lidell’s first run of stateside gigs were. That’d be the period where he’d perform in a kimono, delivering peak hour dance hooks alongside brittle IDM beats and that voice. We hear a new album’s on the way in the next six months, so we’ll settle for this until then.

Jamie Lidell @ Le Poisson Rouge, 9.5.09:
What Is It This Time?
You Got Me Up
A Little Bit More
Game For Fools
When I Come Back Around
Another Day
Music Will Not Last