It’s hard to believe just how good Aly Spaltro is.
On November 8th, I came down with the seasonal common cold. The right thing to do would have been to email my professors that I’d be missing class, take it easy, and maybe binge a TV show. That’s mostly what happened. Yet, the concert I was scheduled to see that night was a non-negotiable must. A favorite artist in town means surpassing any obstacle put in your path. My box of tissues and I called our Uber and made the trek to Columbus Theatre. There, the always-endearing Lady Lamb was scheduled to play.
Lady Lamb is the onstage persona of Aly Spaltro, a 29-year-old indie-folk rocker. Originally from Maine, Spaltro was clearly connected to her New England audience; her Providence show was marked with the familiarity and love she possesses for the region. While she’s becoming a big name (recently surpassing the one million listeners mark on Spotify!) her behavior held the friendly quality of a local musician just starting off. Before the concert started, she lounged at the merch table talking to fans. Afterward, she returned to that table and chatted with all of the fans who waited to meet her. I was the last person in that line. By the time I reached her, all I could say was a starstruck “thank you.”
I knew a Lady Lamb show wouldn’t disappoint me; the lyrical and emotional power on her tracks told me that much. Still, I didn’t expect to be as completely blown away as I was. Lady Lamb not only performed beautifully, nailing the raw vocals needed to make songs like “Crane Your Neck” work, but she also presented herself in a fashion that I honestly didn’t expect from her. Spaltro casually set up her own equipment, carrying the whole show with only a microphone and her electric guitar. Her outfit was equally minimalist: mustard yellow corduroy pants, a black turtleneck, and a large denim jacket. Throughout the set, she interlaced her music with candid stories about everything from her childhood in Arizona to a hilariously embarrassing tale of her friend dropping a metal water bottle at a St. Vincent concert (loudly interrupting the whole show).
It’s hard to say why I didn’t expect such a natural eloquence from her despite how poetically insightful her lyrics are. Perhaps it’s because I considered her lyrics simply too good. I suppose it’s hard to believe lines like “The clouds look a lot like wool gone through the wash” can come from the same person who understands the universality of “The kind of high I like is when I barely make the train and the people with a seat smile big at me because they know the feeling.” Yet, Lady Lamb and Aly Spaltro are both the poetics and the emotion, the strength and the rawness.
It is that duality that made her set so groundbreaking and existential. With an ambient red-velvet curtain behind her, Spaltro announced that this tour was meant for the cities that mattered most to her. Additionally, she noted her desire to return to her favorite cities before the “loud” of her upcoming schedule (She announced her full US tour only a few days after the show).
Spaltro played with the coziest of house-show vibes, taking the audience back to a time before her fame (even as nearly half the setlist was new, unreleased music). In truth, Lady Lamb’s concert caught us all at a moment in the middle. It was tangible in the room as Spaltro acknowledged we had sold out the venue without a new release in years. While she hasn’t yet released anything new, Spaltro is clearly moving toward new horizons.
What has made (and will continue to make) Lady Lamb successful is the transparency radiating from her music that was most visible in her live performance. From personal stories to audience participation, Aly Spaltro created a persona that isn’t truly a persona at all. Spaltro and Lady Lamb became entangled and interchangeable through live performance simply because there is no difference between the humility onstage and the wonderfully kind woman you meet after the show.
Check out her DEEP LOVE tour dates here.