Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Ingrid Michaelson @ Scala, London, 23/11/2009

This was the second time Jen and I had seen Miss Michaelson this year. Things this time did not get off to a good start as we made the cardinal error of leaving the pub too early to go to the Venue. Schoolboy error really. We hung our heads in shame. The problem was that the ticket said ‘Doors 7pm’. Now we took this to mean the doors of the venue would open then, and not that the remaining members of the band The Doors would be onstage riding a storm at 7pm.

As I was interested in catching some of the support act – Greg Laswell, we left the pub just after 7.30 and walked to the venue. We were there by 7.40. Unfortunately there was a queue. A LARGE queue. [For those familiar with the venue and the area it was around the block and up almost as far as the Water Rats Theatre. No, really.] I think the last time I was in a queue this long was back in Glasgow when the Apollo was still open – quite a while ago.

As a result it was 8:20ish before we made it into the venue, by which time Greg Laswell was already into his set. Thankfully this is where things started to pick up

Mr Laswell (who can also be caught at The Slaughtered Lamb this evening (Weds 25th) -I’m annoyed I already have plans or would have gone along ) soon had all thought of standing outside for 40 minutes banished with his dry wit and his upbeat songs with sad lyrics (his own description of his work), an approach highlighted perfectly by his slow mournful piano backed rendition of the Cyndi Lauper classic – ‘Girls Just Want to have Fun.’(There was also a cover of one of my favourite Kate Bush songs – ‘This Woman’s Work’). I also liked that he has a song that last around a minute, as he just thought it was complete with just one verse and the chorus. Godd man. We need more of this kind of thing! The song is called ‘Sweet Dream.’

A good first course, and an artist well worth checking out if you get the chance.

And then it was time for the main course and Ingrid, backed once again by trusty guitarist, and back-up singer, Allie Moss. It took about 10 seconds to decide that crowd participation was needed from the word go as they launched into Die Alone.

This set up the tone for the evening with between song banter that featured talk about when to replace your teddy bear, bestiality, and some thoughts on the lyrics of Take That’s ‘Back for Good’ – which followed a mention of her appearing on Radio 2playlist alongside Michael Buble, Robbie Williams, Cheryl Cole (who it turns out recorded a song – Parachute – which Ingrid co-wrote with Marshall Altman on her debut solo album 3 Words).Later in the set she also had to restart the song ’Everybody’ when instead of singing “Happy is the heart that still feels pain/Darkness drains and light will come again” she actually sang ” Happy is the heart that still feels pain/Lightness drains and dark will come again”

The Set included a mix of old and new which included: Breakable, Locked Up, Mountain and the Sea, The Hat, Way I am, The Chain – with the now familiar trick of getting a volunteer from the audience to take on one of the 3 part harmonies. ‘Alison’ did a fine job, Maybe, You and I, Keep Breathing, Be OK, a song about the wonders of Mexican cuisine, and a fun cover of Radiohead’s Creep.

All in all a rather fine gig, although it would also be nice to see her with a full band at some point. Until then, this was more than enough to leave me wanting more.