Set List Bonus: Mary Lambert At The Victorian Room
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By Crystal Larsen
Given that Lady Gaga tackled the concepts of boldness and bravery during her South by Southwest keynote address on March 14, seeing GRAMMY-nominated singer/songwriter Mary Lambert of "Same Love" fame later that night seemed like a perfect idea. And it was.
Lambert gave two fans high-fives as she approached the stage in the Victorian Room, a quaint lounge at the Driskill hotel in downtown Austin. Her sweet, humorous demeanor was apparent from the start. Before she began her set, she spotted a fan in the front row with a "Same Love" T-shirt, causing her to squeal. Lambert took her position behind her keyboard, the only instrument onstage, and began to play the dark, desperate "Sarasvati" from her 2013 EP Welcome To The Age Of My Body. Unrelated chatter began to echo from the back, causing other fans to hush the chatterers and Lambert to giggle.
She introduced the next song, a spoken word-inspired piece, by saying, "I believe in talking about body image and s*** that's really hard to talk about."
As Lambert riffed on such heavy topics as self-harm, suicide and body image issues, I noticed a woman standing front and center of the stage in tears. Her hands were raised as if to say, "I understand" and "thank you," while her tear-stained cheeks told me Lambert's words hit close to home.
Joking that she likes to start her sets off "light," Lambert opted for a more humorous introduction to her next song, asking the crowd if they remember ever dating "that girl who was a stoner." Everyone laughed as Lambert kicked off the sassy "Red Lipstick."
There were many points during the 40-minute set when Lambert stopped to interact with the audience on a level that was so personal I thought for a second we were friends. But there was one moment that particularly stood out.
"Can I tell you about the GRAMMYs?" she asked everyone as they cheered "yes!" in response. She revealed that she cried so much during rehearsals for her performance of "Same Love" with Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Queen Latifah and Madonna, that she thought she had gotten it all out of her system by the night of the 56th GRAMMY Awards on Jan. 26. But, as she performed live onstage and couples who were married during the performance began to form a line on the floor at Staples Center, she said she saw one man mouth the words "thank you" to her, and she started crying. Then Madonna, with her "bada** leather glove," came over to Lambert and wiped the tears from her face.
"Last year I was bartending, you guys," Lambert said, still clearly on cloud nine from her GRAMMY performance.
For the penultimate song of her set, Lambert performed "She Keeps Me Warm," best known as the chorus of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' GRAMMY-nominated "Same Love." The equality anthem earned Lambert her first career GRAMMY nomination for Song Of The Year. Lambert's performance was nearly flawless — she both hit and carried notes in a range I was unaware she could reach.
Lambert made sure to plug her forthcoming full-length debut album, which is scheduled for release later this year. But she left the crowd on a somewhat sorrow note with "Born Sad."
"Keeping my head above water is all that I know how to do," she sang. Well, that and earning her way into the GRAMMY spotlight.
"Body Love" (spoken word piece)
"Teenage Dirtbag" (Wheatus cover)
"She Keeps Me Warm"