Why Steven Lambke Rules By Andrea Stratis
Steve Lambke might be the most punk rock person I know. Now, if you, the reader, have in the past or perhaps are currently listening to Steve Lambke, reading this statement might give you pause at first. That’s good, it’s good to shake things up. Shake up your expectations, shake up your ideals, shake out your antiquated notions on what constitutes punk rock. Punk rock is not just safety pins and old Jazzmasters, nor is it the blood, sweat and duct tape holding it all together. The punk rock I’m talking about comes from a place much deeper and far less superficial. It’s a sense of seeing the world as equal parts grit and beauty. It comes from within and bears itself on a stage, or through a recording, or in a piece of writing. It demands of us to pay attention not because of its energy but due its spirit. I am at a distinct advantage here as I have in my recent history seen Steve play live. It was a Sunday evening at the Cameron House, a place I need not introduce and thus will spend no time explaining its back history, nor question the hodgepodge of art styles displayed on its walls and frescos. No, we’re here to talk about the stage. To be more pointed and precise we’re here to talk about the man sitting on a chair on said stage. Guitar in hand. Glass of beer taking up arms with a glass of water beside it. With his unmistakable voice, Steve filled our hearts, said voice’s timbre calm and collected, but never holding back. Singing songs of love, of kin, friend, foe and family. These are songs to unpack, to listen once and be hooked and then to be listened to time and again to unravel their secrets, hidden there within the dense layers of wordplay and poetry.
I can tell you what you’ll get when you see Steve play. He’ll be charming and affable and warm and loving and thankful you’re there with him. And then he’ll put pick to guitar and make you feel things you had long forgotten. You’ll forget the new friend next to you exists for a brief period and be transfixed by this punk rock poet laureate sitting/standing in front of you, all dense lyrics and guitar tone. These are songs that are evocative of times and place for us all. We feel things together, you and me, the two people on a date at table 3 just up by the front. We’re all here together in communion of sorts. We’re in this together, in the grit and the beauty. We live in a Steve Lambke song, in one way or another. These are songs about all of us and none of us at the same time.
Steve Lambke rules because he speaks to every single one of us in distinct and beautiful and meaningful ways.
Andrea Stratis runs the excellent Headless Owl Records and works as a consultant for Trans folks in various capacities (including as a Toronto-based consultant for Northern Gender Alliance). Andrea was formerly Executive Director of Music Yukon and once placed second in a bowling tournament.
Steven Lambke plays Kazoo! Fest 2019 at the Pancake Breakfast on Sunday April 14th with Pantayo at 10C Shared Space (42 Carden St.).