Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Ingrid Michaelson at the Troubadour

Closing out her North American tour, singer-songwriter Ingrid Michaelson headed to the Troubadour for the first to two sold out shows in Los Angeles. I’ve seen her live before, but after this performance, I have made myself a solemn vow to see her in concert every time she comes to LA. This girl puts on a hell of a show. She is a consummate entertainer, to say the least, and left me with a perma-smile on my face the entire night.

Shortly after 10:15pm, the band entered to Led Zepplin’s “Immigrant Song” and started playing their version of the song. Immediately following the cover, Ingrid went right into her song “Soldier” (off her current album, “Everybody”). After a bit of ukulele trouble, she moved over to her keyboard to perform an older song, “Breakable.” After sharing a story of how Leann Rimes quoted her lyrics on Twitter, she busted out in to a short little ditty, appropriately titled “Famous People Know Who I Am” then dedicated the bubbly sounding, but lyrically heartbreaking “Once Was Love” to none other than Leann Rimes.

Then came time for “Die Alone” - her obligatory ‘happy song’ (as she called it). Don’t let the title fool you, it really is a song about hope in finding true love and realizing that maybe you won’t die alone. See? Happy song! With the ukulele problem now solved, it was audience participation time where we all sang back the chorus to “Mountain and the Sea.”

During the fun and catchy love long, “You and I,” each band member got to sing a little line and everyone joined in on the foot-stomping and hand-clapping at the end. After that, Ingrid was left alone on stage to regale the audience with her story of meeting R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe, then proceeded to make my heart nearly explode with delight when she covered my favorite R.E.M. song, “Nightswimming.” It was a remarkable a capella rendition using a looping pedal to record her voice harmonizing the melody as she sang the lyrics over it. The entire crowd was captivated, even the ones who had never heard the song before.

After throwing in some new tunes, including “Annihilate” (which is a pending title) and her current single, “Parachute,” she began to sing one of my favorites: “The Chain.” At this point, I’d like to take a moment to really convey exactly how insanely good her vocals are. This girl has got chops. I’m really not a fan of that expression, but there’s really no other way to put it. Her vocal prowess is top notch. During “The Chain,” her voice filled the entire room, with Allie Moss and Bess Rogers singing the backing vocals in a round.

Learning her lesson the hard way in previous shows, she knows now never to play ‘the hit song’ first for those who just came to hear that one song. Her big hit, “The Way I Am” came about an hour into the show followed by another hit, “Maybe” (which is the song that takes me days to get out of my head once I’ve heard it.) I don’t think her fans could have asked for a better closing number than Britney Spears’ “Toxic,” which came complete with synchronized line-dancing and a fun little cheer-type pyramid at the end. While I love her original songs, I always look forward to seeing her live just to hear her cover songs, whether it’s Radiohead’s “Creep,” Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling In Love” or the theme song to “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.”

Instead of doing the traditional “run off stage and come back on two minutes later for the encore,” Ingrid and the band opted to simply have the lights go down and they each found a hiding spot on stage until the audience applause grew to deafening heights, waiting for an encore. We were all very pleased with her playing “Be OK” and then she got us all dancing around to a raucous, punk rock version of “The Way I Am.” She covered her own song and made it even more awesome than it was…if that’s possible.

She had the crowd laughing and singing all night and we all hung on to every word of her little anecdotes, not wanting her witty badinage to end. But I was lucky enough to get to meet and talk to her after the show. She's an absolute sweetheart. Her tour may have come to an end, but she does have four dates in Australia later this month. In the meantime, while you’re waiting for her to come back around to your city, be sure to download her current single, “Parachute.”

1 comment:

  1. I love Ingrid Michaelson, so good to hear that she is soo good in concert! I'll have to check out her next one!