The concert booker and promoter manages 11 local venues, including Firefly Distillery and The Refinery
Ear for Music helped launch the Riverfront Revival festival, curated by Darius Rucker, in October 2022. This year’s lineup includes Rucker, Band of Horses, and more on October 7 and 8.
“I was driving back to Charleston from Florida in late 1993 thinking of business names, and it hit me like a lightbulb—Ear for Music. I floated it by a couple of friends and ran with it,” says Rob Lamble, a locally based concert, event production, and talent-buying impresario. He had recently graduated from college and returned home to help his father run his Tunes Discs & Tapes record stores. Thirty years on and that light is brighter than ever with Ear for Music (EFM), which is bringing a flood of top-shelf shows to the Lowcountry, including Ryan Adams & the Cardinals (May 26), My Morning Jacket (June 16), Fleet Foxes (June 24), Lettuce and Steel Pulse (July 3), with dozens more to be announced. “The growth of Charleston gives us the ability to bring more shows with greater frequency, and people are buying more tickets,” says Lamble.
“[Live music] has made an amazing comeback and seems to be firing on all cylinders in every space we work in. Show announcements are happening at a feverish rate, and festivals new and old are being resurrected and selling well,” he says, adding, “the theaters, amphitheaters, performing arts centers, and local music venues have strong programming, which are all great signs of a healthy industry on the mend. I would say the state of the music [business] post-pandemic is a best-case scenario.”
Collaborations with local venues have complemented EFM’s bread-and-butter bookings, which include concerts, corporate events, and weddings. This year, they are planning schedules for Firefly Distillery, The Refinery, Party at the Point, and assisting The Riviera Theater with its new endeavors. They also are bringing back the Riverfront Revival festival with Darius Rucker at North Charleston Riverfront Park this October.
Rob Lamble (above left) booked his first show at Myskyns Tavern in 1994. His wife, Erika (above right), manages private events.
Calling his team a four-person army, Lamble divides up the duties among his wife, Erika, and two new employees. He handles the public-facing side, including concert and festival promotion, clubs, and events. Erika manages the private sector, booking weddings, corporate events, and parties, as well as artist Seth G, while balancing the books, website, and their personal lives. “I couldn’t do this without her!” Lamble exclaims emphatically.
Committed to giving back to the Lowcountry, EFM partners with a variety of organizations to support causes such as MUSC Children’s Hospital, Camp Happy Days, and Carolina Studios.
Ear for Music curates the Live at Firefly concert series, which brought trippy trio Khruangbin to the North Charleston distillery in May 2022.
While EFM offers a wide range of services, live concert promotion has been at the root of the company since the beginning. When asked what the future bodes, Lamble says, “We will always continue to promote local acts, events, concerts, and production-manage larger charity-based events and festivals that benefit the greater good of our music community.”
It helps that Charleston has an abundance of talent to showcase. “We have a wonderful musical landscape for local bands in our city,” Lamble says. “It’s super healthy with a lot of great musicians like Broken Speakers, Human Resources, Doom Flamingo, the Psychodelics, and many more.”
No doubt Lowcountry concertgoers are all ears for whatever Lamble and company announce next.
BY THE NUMBERS
See for Yourself: Watch a video highlighting Khruangbin’s performance for Live at Firefly