Merge Records just turned 20 years old--a totally datable age, if you can look past some slight emotional immaturity and an inability to purchase booze. To celebrate two decades-worth of remarkable releases, Merge put on a massive self-congratulatory celebration--we're not the only ones who do it--that featured performances from Superchunk, Spoon, a reunited 3Ds, She & Him, Daniel Bejar, Wye Oak, local pride-and-joy "alt-country/soul/chamber-rock/gospel hybrid" outfit Lambchop and more. The festivities went down this past weekend in North Carolina, and The Washington Post's David Malitz provided some very thorough coverage. Apparently he (and many others) found Lambchop's set to be most satisfactory:
...the results are in and it's unanimous -- Lambchop stole the show at XX Merge. Check the Twitter and the blogs. They don't lie. And I say this as someone who has never really been a huge fan of the unclassifiable Nashville collective...Kurt Wagner led this 11-piece version of the band -- complete with a three-piece horn section -- through a perfectly-paced hour-long set that featured a bunch of total pros completely in sync and firing on every cylinder. To borrow a line from a band that they upstaged, Lambchop put on a clinic... When the band finished up everyone in the club knew something special had just happened.
Props to the 'Chop for once again making us proud to call ourselves fellow Nashvillians. It should probably be noted that flagship Merge acts Arcade Fire and Neutral Milk Hotel were "conspicuously absent from the list of confirmed bands." Despite rumors that they'd show up, looks like they didn't. Still, certainly seems like folks got along just fine without 'em.