This review was written by Steven Loftin, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Jack Willis
Lady Lamb is the pseudonym of singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Aly Spaltro, a 24-year-old lone ranger from Maine. She is currently in the midst of a European tour in support of her new album ‘After’.
Before her show at The Castle in Manchester, I caught up with her for a quick chat about her new record, inspirations and saintly family members. Giving a brief explanation of the tour so far, things weren’t completely positive, not through choice but from unfortunate events as she describes her recent run-in with robbers.
‘[It happened] in Brussels, which really sucked, as well as everything else that’s been going wrong on tour…I got some more records sent over by my label, and weirdly the thieves left me 25 shirts. It’s kind of done now though so just gotta keep on going’.
Through these events, there was most certainly a light at the end of the tunnel so to speak, with her welcoming from each venue and city getting warmer and warmer, and that remains justified through tonight. As a venue, The Castle is the perfect platform for any new artist to perform at. The venue consists of a room that can hold around 50+ people, with enough intimacy for the artist to create an instant connection and carve their name into the audience’s hearts. And that’s exactly what happened this evening.
Firstly supporting Lady Lamb were Foxholes, a five-piece band hailing from Manchester, but with a sound fit for the Fens. Creating what can only be described as traditional folk music with an electric twist, utilising four harmonious voices to tell tales of forlorn lovers and the like. Proving suitably good at warming the crowd up they gracefully made their way through the set, with a highly positive reception.
In a room of this size, the atmosphere is already electric. The people here in the center of Manchester are clearly here for a reason, and as the crowd thickens and moves forward, a shy looking 20-something takes the stage with a rhythm section in tow.
A set of twelve songs, consisting mainly from new record begins. The crowd reveals itself to be made up not of gig-chancers, people who just wandered in, but with people holding the intention to finally see where all of this powerful, harmonious noise comes from. When talking about her live shows, she talks about not having any expectations from the audience:
‘I don’t expect anything from them to be honest, I’m pleasantly surprised if they want to sing along and dance along, that kind of thing, that’s nice. I don’t expect anything ‘cause when you expect certain things and it doesn’t pan out you get disappointed. So I kind of don’t tour with expectation so I’m constantly kind of happy and surprised by the turn out and that kind of thing’.
The venue itself is unbearably hot, with Lady Lamb on top form and the almost sold-out crowd responding appropriately, the heat keeps on rising till goers are using flyers as fans.
Considering the aforementioned events, even her technical gear was stolen, so she’s using borrowed pedals after putting a plea out on Twitter but the sound is phenomenally close to that of the records.
Opening with ‘You are The Apple’ and straight into the blistering ‘Billions of Eyes’, a track that can’t help but get the audience moving even more, and with a brilliant line about a Saint in the family, on this she says:
‘Yeah, I mean it’s a true story, a story on my Dad’s side of the family. Basically that my like Great-Great Aunt in Italy was exhumed to have her body moved between cemetery and it hadn’t decomposed at all over the years so they deemed her a saint and buried her in the Vatican.’
Songs like ‘Dear Arkansas Daughter’ and ‘Milk Duds’ show off her ability to create catchy lyrics and perfect melodies that carry a punch to loosen your teeth, giving even the best acts in the scene a run for their money. The majority of the set keeps to the more intense and pounding tracks in her repertoire, bar the mid-set solo performances of ‘Sunday Shoes’ and ‘The Nothing Part II’. These records don’t halt the vibe as much give the audience a brief rest, until they are followed by fan favourite and hard-hitting ‘Bird Balloons’, which cranks up that thermostat up a few more degrees. The progression in her sound is something that wasn’t premeditated.
‘It just kind of happened naturally’ she says. ‘I don’t ever make a plan of what I want something to sound like, it just happens organically and comes out that way.’
Spaltro then goes from her new song, ‘Spat Out Spit’, into the second most well received song of the evening, ‘Crane Your Neck’ and we never stop being given what we came here for. Finishing with another solo song, ‘Ten’, a heart-warming track about family, it’s the perfect end to the night. Much like a cool-down, it gently removes us from the palm of her hand and places us back into the sweaty venue in the middle of Manchester.
Considering this was only her second visit to Manchester, and with only two albums under belt, we have a lot more to see from Lady Lamb, and I sincerely hope it’s not too long till the next visit.