There was little time wasted last week at City Winery. The well packed venue quieted down as the lights dimmed and Lady Lamb was introduced. Aly Spaltro walked to the stage alone, right past her guitar and picked up the mic. The crowd was treated to just Lady Lamb’s voice perfectly letting “Up in the Rafters” fill the room. It was one of those opening performance that not just sets the tone, but guarantees the night will be extraordinary.
Originally meant to be a five-person tour, an unfortunate pair of positive COVID tests trimmed down the Lady Lamb An Evening with Strings tour to only three: Aly Spaltro, Peter Lanctot and Ginger Dolden. However, Lady Lamb spoke of that unfortunate change, keeping safe in the pandemic in general, and even her recent breakup with her long time partner with the same compassion and understanding that radiates from her songs. No matter what the topic, of which many were talked about in between songs, Spaltro just seemed happy to finally be back in front of a crowd; an adoring one at that.
After “Little Flaws,” Spaltro stopped the show for a little Q&A and to fix a little issue. ” Give me a moment to take a break and glue my finger.” A quick laugh fro the crowd was followed by Spaltro super gluing a cut she has on her finger, caused by a scissors right before the first night of the tour. “Is it medically healthy to do that?” someone from the crowd asked. “It’s rock-star,” she responded, continuing to seal up her wound to be able to slide on the guitar for the next song (“Between Two Trees”). She relayed the autobiographical authenticity of “Deep Love” (about her ex), somewhat begrudgingly (she apologized about it almost immediately), spoke about the origins of her name, and revealed her favorite album at the moment (Aldous Harding’s Designer).
Spaltro was an open book all night long, letting her incredibly personal songs speak for themselves and just being so forthright with her audience. With “Sunday Shoes” Spaltro joked with the crowd, “That is the one song that is not autobiographical. I was not nor do I know anyone who was eaten by wolves,” a little call back to authenticity in her songs. However after that she doubled down on just how personal her songs truly are with “Salt,” a song steeped in heavy emotions. It’s full of tears and sadness, shifting between the joy of a new love and already lamenting an end that feels inevitable. “That song is five and half years old and I’m on the other side of it,” she tell the crowd before letting them know it’s her favorite song to sing. “Let’s soar on the wings of that song.”
As the night was coming to a close, there was a definite somber feeling that such a loving evening was coming to an end. She introduced ” Taxidermist, Taxidermist” as a song she is so glad is on her set list. “This one never gets any love. It’s too long,” she shared before letting the seven-minute song stretch its wings. And much like the rest of night, the song flew by. Spaltro is so engaging, drawing you in so closely with her gorgeous voice and detailed songs that every performance never feels insincere. The set finished off with “Ten,” a collection, of beautifully illustrated memories that nearly brings Spaltro to tears. Her voice broke, “it’s been hard” she says before regrouping and continuing the incredibly affecting song. It was a spectacular end to the night, and while there was surely hope of more, what we got was just right.
Did you enjoy this post and our coverage of Chicago’s arts scene? Please consider supporting Third Coast Review’s arts and culture coverage by becoming a patron. Or make a one-time donation by PayPal. Choose the amount that works best for you, and know how much we appreciate your support!