Ingrid Michaelson at Chelsea

Thou shall not think having a blog makes you a journalist

– From Thou Shall Always Kill (De La Edit),

Dan LeSac Vs Scroobius Pip

I should probably start with that point.  I am fully aware that I hardly qualify as part of the new wave of journalism.  I will not be reporting,  nor offering commentary about the news any time soon, mostly because if I were to look into what’s going on in the world today, my first stop would be Wikipedia.  However, one of the great many benefits of having a blogging account is that I’m able to give into certain pretensions, certain desires to be something like a journalist.  And so it is that in this entry, I will be reviewing a gig.

I’ve adopted the view that, whatever I do, I’ll leave my Erasmus year in considerable debt so I may as well enjoy myself.  So it was that last night I found myself in the Chelsea pub to watch Ingrid Michaelson perform live.

Before the gig, I had never heard Ingrid Michaelson, I’d barely even heard of her, nor had I been to the bar she was playing at, despite it being a major Viennese venue for up-and-coming performers.  I went in with absolutely no expectations, nor preconceptions about what I was about to see, which made the overall experience all the better

Chelsea

Chelsea

Chelsea is the perfect underground music club; built into the arches of a U-bahn bridge just outside of the city centre.  It reminded me of the Cavern in Liverpool, all brick archways and windowless walls with tattered posters everywhere and I was lucky enough to arrive early with my friends and find a perch at the bar next to the stage, a perfect place for music appreciation, especially if the band turns out to be bad.

Martin and James

Martin and James

The warm up act were a couple of Glaswegian guys called Martin and James who played a set of acoustic indie songs, which to my mind were completely indistiguishable from one another.  This is not to say they were bad, they both had voices tempered by a Gallic lilt and they played their instruments well, but there was no song or tune which stood out and stuck in my memory.  They did manage to generate a good rapport with the crowd and I got the feeling that they have a charisma which they’ve not yet fully tapped.  Maybe in a few years I’ll come across them again and I’ll reserve full judgement when and if that time comes.

The main event however, was a totally different story.  Ingrid is a talented songwriter; each song is distinct and she makes use of several different instruments (Piano, Guitar and Ukelele), while following the same folk style.  Her songs speak of love and happiness in simplicity, with memorable lyrics and tunes which make me smile when I hear them all sung in a voice which is simply beautiful.  It should say something that the morning after the gig, I downloaded Ingrid’s first album from iTunes because I still had Breakable stuck in my head.

The highlight of the gig was her banter with the audience between songs.  You can see that she enjoys her job and it shines through as she jokes about such simple things – an audience member’s high pitched sneeze, for example – with a quick wit and improvisation which would put many stand up comedians to shame.  She has a very self-depricating sense of humour as well.  She joked several times about how she and her sidewoman, the charming and understated Allie Moss, stare at each other during her love songs and was not afraid to laugh at herself when she made a mistake mid-song.

Ingrid Michealson (Right) performing with Allie Moss

Ingrid Michealson (Right) performing with Allie Moss

From going in having never heard a single Ingrid Michaelson song, I left sad that the encore – a rendition of Somewhere Over the Rainbow, in which she showed off her vocal skills – hadn’t been longer or contained more of her own songs.

At the very least I would recommend her first album Girls and Boys to people, but I would most certainly go out of my way to attend a gig if she were playing near me again.

Ingrid Michaelson can be found at http://www.ingridmichaelson.com/

Martin and James can be found at http://www.myspace.com/martinandjames

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