Last weekend I had the amazing opportunity to see Lady Lamb and The New Pornographers at Canopy Club as part of the yearly Pygmalion Festival. The concert was high-energy from start to finish, showcasing new talent and talent that has spanned decades. This show was the perfect way to close my last Pygmalion festival.
Lady Lamb opened for The New Pornographers. Prior to the show, I had not heard of the band and did not even have an idea of what kind of music they’d play. I was extremely impressed with what I saw. Lady Lamb is the stage name of Aly Spaltro, and she heads a very unique indie-pop-folk act that surprised me in the best way. She started the show by standing on the stage alone, playing a song with just her guitar and her crystal-clear voice. The rest of her band soon joined her onstage and upped the energy on their second song. I noticed this really cool pattern in a lot of Lady Lamb’s songs where they would experiment with tempo changes in a way that was captivating. A few songs would start slow, rock out by the chorus, and switch back and forth a handful of times throughout the songs’ courses. I really liked this sound, and it led me to start listening to the band in the days following the concert due to the uniqueness of it. Lady Lamb definitely warmed up the crowd with their pop-rock sound.
After a brief intermission, The New Pornographers walked onto the stage. This was my first time seeing The New Pornographers live—before the concert I was just a casual listener of the band—but you could tell they are a big deal because there were a couple apparent “groupies” that crowded the front of the stage right when the doors of the concert opened. To give a brief history of the band, they officially formed in 1997 (the year I was born—so that gives some perspective), and has been a huge force in crafting indie rock ever since. Often fusing elements of power pop and synthesizers, the sound comes out to be something unique and difficult to label.
The New Pornographers are also tied for the most musicians I have ever seen on a stage at one time—eight! If you know the Canopy Club, you know that the venue is not huge so it is no small feat to fit eight band members on the stage. By the end of the first song, however, you’re able to recognize that each of the eight members are an integral part of the performance and it would certainly be lacking in some way if any of them were not present. One of the lead singers, Neko Case, has a remarkably successful solo career and often cannot tour with the band, so it was especially exciting to see her perform. Another thing that I noticed was that even the bassist had unique moments to shine, which I rarely see in live bands. There were a lot of intriguing bass riffs that started out the songs, drawing attention to a part of most bands that is often overlooked.
The energy level that The New Pornographers brought to the Canopy Club was unreal. Playing a combination of songs from all of their studio albums over the past 22 years, including their 2019 release “In The Morse Code Of Brake Lights,” the audience got to see every stage of The New Pornographers, as each of their albums has a slightly different flair to it. In between songs the band members would joke around, and it was fun to see their dynamics as a band of that size along with the camaraderie they’ve built up after years and years of touring together.
They closed the concert with “Mass Romantic” off of their first album from 2001, and this was my favorite performance of the night. A song that is definitely heavier on rock than pop, the crowd went wild as most of the fans have been there from the beginning of The New Pornographers’ career. This band has lasted the test of time and maintained a loyal fanbase throughout a career that spans multiple decades. I was extremely impressed with the band’s live performance and would jump at any opportunity to see them play again.