Lady Lamb // Henry Jamison @ The Sinclair (2/10)
Self-taught musician Aly Spaltro (known by her stage name, Lady Lamb) played a captivating set to a respectfully attentive and sold out crowd at The Sinclair on Friday night- the day after one of Boston’s biggest snow storms since 2015. The show opened with Henry Jamison who took the relatively massive stage armed only with an acoustic guitar, a flurry of clever one-liners, and the profound imagery of which his 2016 EP, ‘The Rains,’ is comprised. Let’s face it- there could be difficulties in playing a solo acoustic show to a room of over 500, but the intricacies of Jamison’s writing and the endearing stories of being holed up in a hotel during ‘thundersnow’ the night before quickly set the expectation for the evening. It could only be aided by the fact that business-as-usual in the city had slowed to a crawl in the past couple of days, and its usual manic pace subsided enough for people to enjoy the finer moments. This night was certainly one of them.
Most of Lady Lamb’s 2017 tour dates are dedicated to her solo Living Room Tour in support of the new EP, ‘Tender Warriors Club.’ An application was posted on her website late last year for anyone interested in volunteering their living room to host one of the nearly 50 tour dates, but Friday’s show was one of the handful set in official venues. Spaltro’s mission for her recent work is explicitly spelled out in a ‘manifesto’ on the website for the album which deals with some deeply searching and introspective themes- an ideal concept for a smaller audience. From the beginning, her set was certainly a departure from what I had seen during her powerful opening for Conor Oberst at House of Blues and the outright crushing homecoming show in Portland, ME years earlier. However, if Cambridge was “home” for the hundreds packed tightly from wall to wall at The Sinclair, Spaltro transformed the venue into the city’s impromptu living room, making it feel like an intimate house show. The note-perfect renditions of tracks from the new EP were sonically gripping in themselves, but the messages behind the lyrics were highlighted by the silence between each word. Some people in the audience were even able to ask questions between songs without much effort. Aside from the new material, a handful of songs were played from the previous two LPs as well including an invitation to sing along to ‘Aubergine,’ the most upbeat part of the set. Towards the end, Spaltro, sporting a jacket on which the title of the EP was embroidered, took a moment to say some words about her own efforts in becoming a “Tender Warrior” and the importance of compassion (both unto others and oneself). This sentiment and the many densely layered in Lady Lamb’s recent lyrics hit at a point in time where empathy and understanding are paramount in our growth as individuals as well as a community. It’s best summed up in the liner notes of the new EP:
“Most of all, thank you to all of you who have supported Lady Lamb over the years – who support this record & its concept of finding the courage to be sensitive. This one is for you. Stay tender and true and see how the world reflects you.”
I am not sure if these solo shows are a temporary experiment with new material or a permanent move away from full-band performances, but either way, Lady Lamb’s performances have consistently become more impressive over the past few years. The Living Room Tour is certainly a unique opportunity to jump at, given the chance. Aly Spaltro is excavating her soul loud and clear with nothing more than her voice and a guitar (sometimes a banjo) and inviting listeners to do the same. Now more than ever, it is an important message that carries on well past the doors of a venue or the grooves of a record. The only things missing from the experience were my comfy slippers and a mug of tea.