Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Ambulance LTD Played Mercury Lounge - Pictures, Review, Setlist

Never mind that they haven't been touring extensively, haven't released new material in three years, and have had a complete lineup turnover save for one Marcus Congleton: last night at Mercury Lounge, Ambulance LTD proved beyond a doubt that they have been hard at work creating awesome, inspiring music. And, if the crowd was any indication, the production delays have done nothing to dull the enthusiasm of the band's fans.

One of the things that has doubtless worked in Ambulance's favor is the fact that their first record is ridiculously dynamic. It's stylistically exciting, and despite being highly accessible, it holds up remarkably well on repeat listens. Last night it became immensely clear that much of that inspiration is rooted in Marcus Congleton's simultaneous ability to lead the band down a very clear melodic path, while at the same time pushing the boundaries on what could definitely be considered "jams". The band's ability to toe the line between the two makes for a thrilling live experience.

It also worked to the band's advantage that they have amassed a solid repertoire beyond that first record. The setlist, which easily could have been just a run through of the band's lone LP, was solid balance of the new and the old. What's more, it doesn't hurt that the new material stands up amazingly well amongst its older brethren. In particular, the new tune "Ivy" blew our minds. The song managed to combine a funky dance vibe with a rock jam in the best way imaginable. (You can stream a demo of the tune on the band's myspace.)

Towards the end of the night, the band did what we would typically call one of the riskiest moves in the business: they covered Dylan. There are so many reasons why doing so could be a blunder, a farce, or just plain not work. Well, we're here to tell you: it worked, and it worked well. The band dove into "Tonight I'll Be Staying Here with You", and delivered it with all the subtle rock sensibility that graces the rest of their work. Not only that, but Congleton managed to inflect Dylan's vocal line with a fair bit more melody. We know it's a travesty to say the cover beats out the original, but, um - yeah.

So, there you have it: if you're not getting the gist, we loved the show. It'd been five years since we last saw Ambulance, and three years since a new record, and we couldn't be happier to see that they're not even remotely slowing town. We know it's tough to wait on a band when there's so little to go on, but that's why we're here to help you. Without a doubt, whenever it comes, by whatever means, the next chapter from Ambulance is going to be well worth the wait. Promise.

Instruments (instrumental)
Paper Doll
New English
Country Gentleman
Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You (Bob Dylan Cover)
Heavy Lifting
Stay Where You Are
Young Urban

Many more pictures at the HAD Archive

mp3: Ambulance LTD - Live On WNYC Soundcheck


Anonymous said...


Jeffrey Greenblatt said...

Great review, wanted to hit this show but somehow managed to miss it. Definitely looking forward to hearing their new record.

Reinafire said...

Loove their music & I can't wait for more! 'been waiting for the longest time and am so happy for them. God bless them!!!