“Sometimes when I cry, I start to cry harder simply because I am crying or because I know that in the world somewhere there are little girls that are wearing tutus and singing Christmas songs,” Mary Lambert coos as she opens the show with her song “Lay Your Head Down,” a song that Mary would say is very “on brand” for her because it’s about crying.
The singer-songwriter is very open in her work about growing up in a very religious household, struggling with the fact that she was gay as well as her experiences with sexual abuse, body image and bipolar disorder. Her concerts are known to be safe spaces where crying is acceptable and is often encouraged. That night at the Highline Ballroom was the last night of Mary’s Everybody is a Babe tour so I knew to expect more tears than normal.
All along this tour, Mary had been bringing out poets and spoken word artists to open the show. That evening we were lucky to have Rachel McKibbens, an advocate for mental health awareness, gender-equality and victims of violence and domestic abuse, share some of her exceptionally moving poetry.
Mal Blum and their band took the stage next prefacing that most of their songs were sad and depressing – a common theme of the night. Those songs coupled with Mal’s light, punk vocals made the songs seem a bit peppier than they initially described but if you listen deeper you can tell you’re listening to someone who has been through quite a tumultuous ride.
“I’ve become the unicorn queen of my life,” Mary says as she tells the story about leaving her record label after they told her she wasn’t a viable option to produce her own album. She proved them wrong and ended up producing half of her Bold EP and is producing her entire next full-length album. “It feels like a very successful trust fall,” Mary says about her being able to attract a crowd here all on her own. It’s hard to believe that people wouldn’t show up to see her.
On stage, she fills the room with hope and laughter and love but also makes everyone feel those things deep inside themselves that they normally wouldn’t let out in public. Her bubbly personality offsets the somberness in her music.
That night she performed songs off her more colorful and unusually upbeat EP Bold, as well as her darker, more somber and monochromatic album Heart on My Sleeve. All of her songs seem to have a story that goes along with them. My favorite one she told that night was the story of when she met and performed with Madonna on the Grammys.
They were set to sing a duet right after Queen Latifah helped an aisle full of couples get married on live TV – “apparently something that happens after 4 years of bartending.” At every rehearsal, Mary cried and couldn’t even get the song out but Madonna comforted her and they made it through the performance. Mary’s adorable song, “I’d Be Your Wife,” was written about Madonna.
Mary and her drummer commemorated the tour by getting matching “BABE” tattoos. It seemed like this tour was a very important one to Mary and made sense why she would always want a reminder with her about it forever.
Article: Merissa Blitz