Sharon Van Etten, Lady Lamb the Beekeeper and St. Claire at Brighton Music Hall

Sharon Van Etten – Don’t Do It
Lady Lamb the Beekeeper – Penny Licks

words & photos by: Courtney Leigh Allen

There was a whole lot of beautiful song writing and mesmerizing voices at the Sharon Van Etten show at Brighton Music Hall Thursday night.

The show was sold out, which isn’t surprising given that Sharon Van Etten has friends in high places. Or indie places. She’s toured with The National and Junip, sang on The Antler’s latest album Hospice, and is pals with Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon.

And she specializes in heartbreak. And is overall, adorable. She seemed genuinely happy and surprised by the applause after each song. She dedicated ‘One Day’ to her mother, then sang a new song that she wrote at 4 a.m. while alone in Japan, fueled by a vending machine full of beer. I don’t think it’s possible to not be in love with Sharon Van Etten.

I’ve seen Sharon Van Etten play once before, opening for the Great Lake Swimmers, playing songs off of her first album Because I Was In Love. But last night, with shaggy black hair that fell over her eyes, Van Etten played most songs off of her second release, Epic. Backed by a guitarist and drummer, her sound was completely different than her acoustic sound, more well-rounded. Her voice can absolutely stand on its own, but it was nice to hear a bit more range with the addition of her band.

The other amazing set of the night belonged to opener Lady Lamb the Beekeeper. I think a lot of what goes into a great show, is a great opener. I haven’t been that impressed with the opening act since I saw Freelance Whales open for the Temper Trap at the Great Scott in October of 2009. And I have a feeling that Lady Lamb the Beekeeper, as an opener, won’t be topped for a while.

A small girl with messy brown hair, Lady Lamb the Beekeeper is the moniker of Aly Spaltro. Most of the sold out crowd had arrived when all of the sudden the lights dimmed, and Spaltro stepped up to the mic – holding her guitar, but not playing it – and just started to sing. Opening with her acoustic ‘Up In The Rafters’, Spaltro stood and just sang. You could hear every word and line. “I want to know you like the clock knows the hours. I want to see you with both my eyes forward.” The entire crowd was absolutely quiet for the five-minute song. If you came to the show knowing Lady Lamb the Beekeeper, you already loved her. And if you didn’t know her before, you loved her after the first song.

Boston’s own folkie St. Claire started off the evening, and her beautiful songwriting and equally beautiful voice was a great lead in to the amazing sets by Spaltro and Van Etten.