Lach: The Day I Went Insane

Previous reviewers have compared Lach to Woody Allen and Woody Guthrie, and while these two are good reference points I'd like to start by pointing out just how much he looks, and even moves, like a young Elvis Costello. That's not particularly relevant, but I couldn't not say it. As a performer he's more readily likeable than Costello or Allen in their more adenoidal moments, though not as talented a writer as either – near the end of his set he quips about the sound of 'a comedy reviewer falling down the stairs', though, so I'd better watch myself.This show is a blend of stand-up and music, though a lot of it is somewhere between the two – my favourite sections were long, narrative digressions where Lach broke the traditional structure of a song to talk, improvise and fill in the details, playing constant, clanging chords all the while. His guitar style is deliberately heavy-handed, as might be expected from the anti-folk maven who gave Jeffrey Lewis and Kimya Dawson their first big breaks, and his songs are generally charming and memorable, in an endearingly shonky kind of way.The comedy sections have less frequent laughs and can seem unfocused but often deliver decent pay-offs at the end of each segment. One moment of beat performance poetry which gives the show its title should probably have been avoided, but it's forgotten quickly enough and mostly this is a lot of fun. Highlights include an improvised extract from 'West Bank Story' and a rhyme between 'Forum' and 'decorum' in the extended talking breakdown section of 'Drinking Beer With Mom, Everything's All Right'. I'd have enjoyed a few more songs, with the comedy trimmed to great between-song banter, but Lach clearly has a lot of loyal fans and is worth catching if you're a fan of the artists whose careers he's helped to launch.

Reviews by Richard O'Brien

The Blurb

Brilliant songs, comedy and revelations from NYC's living legend: founder of the revolutionary Antifolk movement. 'Face-ache funny!' (Guardian); 'Woody Allen meets Woody Guthrie' (NME); 'Definitely a show worth getting out the house for!' (Scotsman)