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Ebony Lamb - Gig Review: Ebony Lamb @ Whammy Bar, Auckland - 10/11/2023

12 Nov 2023 // A review by Lou Clement
Singer songwriter Ebony Lamb treated the tightly packed Auckland, Tamaki Makaurau crowd to a night of new music from her self-titled debut solo album. The gig was part of a seven-date Aotearoa tour which began October 27th, and finished in Paekakariki on Saturday, November 11th. In support, in Auckland were DJ Matthew Crawley and Tom Lark.

In a booth of turquoise lights, DJ Matthew Crawley entertained, as the crowd filtered off the street and in through the doors of the basement venue in St Kevin’s arcade. I found myself singing loudly to PJ Harvey, on arrival, what a joy.

Tom Lark (pictured above) had been on his own tour earlier this year following the release of his album, Brave Star, in June. He sang "you only got a little time here to figure it out" on Wild Fire, my favourite song from his set. He had a vocabulary of sound which was understated and determined. Live, he is energetic and modest. You can catch him at the Nostalgia Festival at Ferrymead Park in Christchurch early next year.

Ebony Lamb said she was thankful to see us all and the whoops and whistles from the crowd indicated there was a mutual appreciation. Swipe through Lamb’s Instagram and you’ll find the signal of her artistic profession as a musician and as a photographer. You’ll also find a sincere approach to reflecting on the nurturing of the creative process and output. Lamb acknowledged not only the input on production and visuals, but also those who pressed the vinyl, as well as promotors and organisations supporting independent music more widely.

At this evening of new music, we were treated to her single My Daughter My Sister My Son which was full of emotional impact. As the gig progressed it was Lamb’s vocals that captivated me. I’d heard about her voice and read reviews, but you have to see her live to really experience it. She had been compared to Gillian Welsh. I’d add country icon Patsy Cline and trip hop veteran Beth Gibbons. Her voice rose and fell unexpectedly over notes in a way that demands the audience’s full attention. The compositions of her songs carve out a deservedly large place for it. In fact, it couldn’t sound wholly like anyone else’s.

In between songs, Lamb voiced valid concerns in a time of changing government, her support for fair pay and also her history working for trade unions. I appreciated the insight, and the crowd wholly supported her concerns.

The highlight for me was Salt Sand Sea. She talked to the audience and gave snippets into the history and meaning in her songwriting. She sang "I have visions of the mountains…", the lyrics to Midnight Is My Name and explained that her father had wanted to name her Midnight, after a notorious local gang leader. She said something about the philosophy of being and transferring and if I didn’t totally understand everything she said, the song took care of the rest.

Photo Credit: Katie-Lee Webster
Ebony Lamb Gallery
Tom Lark Gallery


About Ebony Lamb

Ebony Lamb writes with a poetic voice and a vivid, surrealistic intimacy. The New Zealand singer-songwriter and photographer turns the minutiae of everyday life and the defining memories that stay with us into a rich melange of folk, jazz, soul, and ambient pop. The Wellington-based artist spent her formative years as a traveller, mother, and worker of many jobs, eventually co-founding the alt-country band Eb & Sparrow in 2010. Drawing comparisons to Gillian Welch, Cat Power and Neko Case, Ebony released three critically-acclaimed albums with the band before embarking on a solo career under her own name.

Ebony has supported international and national acts such as Tiny Ruins, Nadia Reid, Marlon Williams, Beth Orton, Rodriguez, Bic Runga, Tami Neilson, Lawrence Arabia and more.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Ebony Lamb


Ebony Lamb
Year: 2023
Type: Album

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