Lady Lamb, Rathborne, and Violent Mae: All Smiles at The Space

I’ll admit it’s not every day I go to a show for the opener. In fact, I often feel somewhat uncomfortable standing front and center among the dozen or so others scattered about the venue. Of course, there are those holding up the bar, chatting at a painfully loud volume, or phone gazing during the set. Not the case with local favorites, Violent Mae, opening the show for another New England favorite, Lady Lamb. The only outlier was (Luke) Rathborne who now hails from New York City but can be claimed by Maine as well. Geography aside, the draw for me was first and foremost Violent Mae.

Violen Mae-5jpg_15230260474_l
Violen Mae-6jpg_15666763587_l
Violen Mae-7jpg_15826718116_l
Violen Mae-8jpg_15666767717_l
Violen Maejpg_15665005268_l
Violen Mae-2jpg_15851901352_l
Violen Mae-3jpg_15826709626_l
Violen Mae-4jpg_15826711876_l

I’ve said it before, as an advocate of all ages shows, there tends to be a more youthful and upbeat energy to these shows. I arrived just as Violent Mae was cutting into their first tune and was rather surprised to find a good 50 to 60 audience members packed shoulder to shoulder beneath the low ceiling, reminiscent of your friends basement jam room. I hate doing it, which is why I try to arrive early, but I eventually made my way up to the front careful not to place myself directly in front of someone. From all the way stage right I was able to get a full sense of the crowd that was in attendance, presumably to see headliners Lady Lamb, but for all their swaying and smiles you’d never know it. Guitarist and vocalist Becky Kessler even made note of the exuberant environment, commenting on how much fun she was having. Drummer Floyd Kellogg smiled and shared the occasional laugh with Kessler during an extended set as Rathborne were running late. The duo played several cuts from their eponymous debut album including “Later On,” “Hole In My Heart,” and one of my personal favorites, “Worn Out My Welcome.” Kessler and Kellogg also debuted some new songs. After the set, I spoke briefly with Floyd and learned that most of the album was finished, but there were still some loose ends to tie up. Regardless, the new songs were true to the soulful, honest, and rich textures one has come to expect from their “indie-noir” sound. I for one am very excited about their sophomore release due out sometime this fall.

Rathborne-2jpg_17111308703_l
Rathborne-3jpg_17543871828_l
Rathborne-4jpg_17731679285_l
Rathborne-5jpg_17545418049_l
Rathborne-6jpg_17544177710_l
Rathborne-7jpg_17732047361_l
Rathborne-8jpg_17545463699_l
Rathbornejpg_17109148264_l

Rathborne took the stage next after getting lost just one driveway down from The Space’s. Luke told the comical story of finding his way with drummer Marian Li Pino (La Luz) to an industrial complex that featured auto body shops and Karate dojos to which he would like to return to visit someday when he had more time. While the gender roles were flip-flopped, Luke on guitar and vocals and Li Pino on drums the sound was starkly different than the preceding duo’s. While I wouldn’t necessarily come to suggest that Rathborne’s music was derivative it definitely felt a bit more influenced by the recent resurgence of garage/psych coming from the likes of Ty Segall and Thee Oh Sees. Li Pino’s drumming was spirited and steady and while the rhythms were unique to Rathborne’s music you could hear her surf stylings trying to rise up. An entertaining set nonetheless.

Lady Lamb-18jpg_17042103413_l
Lady Lamb-19jpg_17662460125_l
Lady Lamb-20jpg_17042136253_l
Lady Lamb-21jpg_17039978514_l
Lady Lamb-22jpg_17662632481_l
Lady Lamb-23jpg_17042175643_l
Lady Lamb-24jpg_17474947500_l
Lady Lamb-25jpg_17474721608_l
Lady Lamb-26jpg_17660102292_l
Lady Lamb-27jpg_17042220943_l
Lady Lamb-28jpg_17660122482_l
Lady Lamb-29jpg_17636269486_l
Lady Lamb-30jpg_17662773701_l
Lady Lamb-31jpg_17660225052_l
Lady Lamb-32jpg_17662832311_l
Lady Lamb-33jpg_17475140950_l
Lady Lamb-34jpg_17476431239_l
Lady Lamb-35jpg_17660318562_l
Lady Lamb-2jpg_17039727234_l
Lady Lamb-3jpg_17659798992_l
Lady Lamb-4jpg_17659808972_l
Lady Lamb-5jpg_17475952579_l
Lady Lamb-6jpg_17662419961_l
Lady Lamb-7jpg_17474482508_l
Lady Lamb-8jpg_17041977423_l
Lady Lamb-9jpg_17659873212_l
Lady Lamb-10jpg_17042000913_l
Lady Lamb-11jpg_17662488651_l
Lady Lamb-12jpg_17636042116_l
Lady Lamb-13jpg_17474799970_l
Lady Lamb-14jpg_17039887504_l
Lady Lamb-15jpg_17476089189_l
Lady Lamb-16jpg_17476101679_l
Lady Lamb-17jpg_17476112219_l

Finally, and as it was intended, the night belonged to Aly Spaltro’s Lady Lamb, formerly known as Lady Lamb the Beekeeper. It didn’t take, but a note or two from the self-made pop outfit from Maine to know who the heavily female audience came to see. There were times when I could hear the front row of girls better than I could Spaltro’s vocals, and this is no hyperbole! At first I was slightly annoyed by this, particularly when I could hear one audience members “twang”, “twang”, “twang” more prominently than Spaltro’s banjo strums but I will also admit to quickly finding the fun in it all. The evening was anything but stiff and uppity so why the hell not, “twang”, “twang”, “twang” away ladies. Aly shared an “I told you so” with her band between songs as she lauded CT fans for being fervent. There was even a moment later in the set where she began to get emotional and then quickly shook it off by admonishing herself saying, “look at me getting all emotional”. Spaltro wasn’t the only one getting in on the fun. Bassist and long time friend of Spaltro’s, TJ Metcalfe shared packages of Sour Patch Kids with the front row after being asked about his shirt (a silhouette of a Sour Patch Kid apparently) and he was also asked to the prom. So all in all it was a super fun evening for all involved.

Lady Lamb will be back in Connecticut on July 27th when they open for The Decemberists at College Street Music Hall. They also have a smattering of dates around New England and Canada this summer.