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We at WERS love to give you, the listener and the reader, the first scoop on some of the best new bands around. We ESPECIALLY love to give our props to the great new and established bands that come out of Boston and the greater New England area. So, it is with great pleasure, to announce that Aly Spaltro, better known as her stage name Lady Lamb the Beekeeper, has finally arrived! After releasing a handful of EPs and playing her fair share of shows over the past five years, Boston was lucky enough to be the first to see her unveil her new debut album, Ripely Pine.
And, as exciting as it was for us to be part of her record release show, the most excited person seemed to be Spaltro herself! Her enthusiasm spread into both her performance and the audience, creating an absolutely electric atmosphere. The venue of choice, TT The Bears, was perfect- not only because she honed her chops over many shows here- but because its probably the last time we’ll see her perform at such an intimate venue. If her music wasn’t already undeniable, her performance won over any doubters. Simply put, Spaltro will go far; it wouldn’t be surprising to see her gracing some major festival stages in the future. In fact, with her new band in tow, she probably should have already been booked.
Lady Lamb made her name around the upper-east coast through supporting a handful of fantastic bands (including Beirut and Sharon Van Etten). Her solo performances were moving; she was able to create such a massive and powerful sound through sheer will power. This time around, for her sold-out headlining show, she brought a full band to back her. Songs that sounded somber in her solo performance sprang to life with the addition of strings, horns, keyboards, and a powerful rhythmic backing. Songs that originally sounded like private confessions sprang to life and paraded around the room, grooving and buzzing with the crowd. It was a revelation to hear how full and expanded these songs had become. And, as a plus, her dad flew in from Texas to both watch her perform and to play backing guitar with the band. It was a nice personal touch that made the show feel even more special.
The acappella “Open In The Rafters” began the set with a quiet bang. Even without all of the additional accompaniment, Spaltro showed us the simple draw of her powerful voice. It was unfortunate the booming bass of the Middle East Downstairs did its best at trying to drown her out. It certainly was a bit distracting as the bass loudly buzzed through the floor. However, not one to dampen the spirit of the event, Spaltro later joked that she tried her best to work her song into the beat.
She didn’t have to worry about being drowned any more once she introduced her band and blasted right into lead-off single, “Bird Balloons”. The rocking tune started off with a stuttering riff, reminiscent of something St. Vincent might write, and began to run right into a range of emotions through the dynamic range of the music. One minute the song is grooving, the next the guitar is again stuttering through a staccato filled verse with brief punctures of vocals. The highlight of the song was when the entire band dropped out, giving Lady Lamb the chance to give her strong voice the spotlight.
“Milk Duds”, one of the first songs Spaltro ever wrote, was next and quickly lightened up the mood. What’s great about Lady Lamb’s music is the give-and-take tension that she creates; one minute you’ll be dancing and the next crying. “Aubergine” was one of the former tunes, beginning with a bright acoustic guitar intro before quickly leaping into the sun thanks to some cheerful horns.
She switched between her normal solo set and performing with her band, playing the deeply intimate “Between Two Trees” by herself before launching into album opener, “Hair to the Ferris Wheel”. Her short but sweet set ended with defacto closer “Crane Your Neck”, a song that evolves from a soft and cheerful folk song into a strutting glam-rock riff, and the hopeful “The Nothing Part II”. She noted that the latter featured a choir on the album and encouraged everyone to sing along. Unfortunately, many were unfamiliar with the tune, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see this song become a live, fan favorite once every gets the chance to learn the lyrics.
What makes Lady Lamb’s performance and music truly special is the gamut of emotions that it runs through is huge and really touches on the human experience and the roller coaster of life. Her songs, emotionally, go up and down, but now her performances do as well. With the addition of a backing band, Spaltro really manages to capture the exuberant joy of her songwriting while still keeping the more somber and arresting moments in her solo sets.
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