Tom Cunliffe & Ebony Lamb – Freida Margolis: Oct. 16, 2022

Tom Cunliffe was promoting his new album and Ebony Lamb was warming up for her own tour, together they were “making friends with new friends at Freida Margolis.

It was a beautiful spring evening in Grey Lynn so where else would you want to be than the cosy confines of Freida Margolis where 50 or 60 music fans gathered to hear Tom Cunliffe and Ebony Lamb

Ebony Lamb

Ebony LambEbony Lamb is the Wellington-based singer-songwriter formerly with Eb & Sparrow. She’s about to set out on her own solo tour in November along with Jess Cornelius, so Ebony was here tonight to try out her new songs in front of a live audience solo before hitting the road with a full band.

Tom and Ebony are clearly friends and Tom introduces Ebony to the crowd with a brief couple of sentences.

Then with guitar in hand, Ebony approaches the mic and starts off her 40 minute set with the first of eight new songs. If you’ve heard Eb & Sparrow, you know Ebony can sing. A self-confessed “reformed country singer”, Eb was in excellent voice sounding just a bit like Wuthering Heights-era Kate Bush on a song titled Midnight.

“All good?” Eb queries the crowd after a few tunes.

Lamb’s between song patter is almost has good as her music, confiding about her recent wardrobe malfunction (thanks Nadia), her “bloody marvellous” John Campbell story and observations of the housing situation in Wellington and Auckland.

“I quite like Aucklanders” she exclaims, to our relief.

After hearing these eight new songs, we can’t help but be excited to see her at Wine Cellar on November 9th.

Tom Cunliffe

After a brief intermission it was Tom’s turn.

The Auckland-based musician has just released Secret Exhibition and it’s a beaut.

Cunliffe’s 55 minute set begins with him behind a keyboard playing the album’s title track, but slower and with more intensity.

By the time he gets to They Only See The Scars, he’s moved to guitar and the crowd is spellbound, that is until he starts Loser’s Saloon.

“Just because it’s set in a bar doesn’t mean you can chatter”. The guilty parties get the message and all is quiet for the remainder of the show.

A highlight for me was Andolina, a lovely tune from the new album that seems to be channelling a certain Mr. Cohen. I’m sure the ghost of Leonard was with us!

Andolina was followed by a new song that was, as Tom notes, “Very intense, I know and it doesn’t get any easier”.

After a lovely Refusing The Wave, Tom covered The Whole Of The Moon, “One of my favourite songs”, by The Waterboys.

Then Ebony stepped up to help with We Had It All.

By the time the encore came around it was the Eb and Tom show with Ebony singing a gorgeous version of Etta James’ I Would Rather Go Blind and then the two of them led a singalong with Fred Neil’s Everybody’s Talkin’.

All this and Ebony Lamb’s impressive dolphin impersonation! What more could one ask for on a Sunday night?

Marty Duda

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