Ingrid Michaelson/Greg Holden @ Martini Ranch Scottsdale, Arizona Oct 2nd, 2009
We loved Greg’s set. Like his digital recordings, we found his vocals to be clear and strong. He can really belt out his self written lyrics and strums the guitar just as boldly as he sings. It was evident from the start that Greg had a knack for pleasing the girls and, at one point, in the set, one of the girls yelled out from the small but sold out show, ” I want to kiss you”, to which Greg quickly responded, “how old are you”? After all it was an all age venue with a divider between the two, we were on the side that served the “adult beverages”. Of Greg’s setlist, we loved the his song/performance of “The Art of Falling”, “The Chase”, “Thinking of You” (great sing along with this one), and “Serendipity”, although truthfully, we are hard pressed not to like them all.
Greg Holden’s entire set was full of audience interaction which included a few sing-alongs. Greg was very entertaining and it was, as when we first heard him, an eye opening act for many who asked who he was after his set finished. The crowd was obviously pleasingly surprised by Ingrid’s new discovery.
However strong Greg’s set appeared, it was not without some blemish. He mentioned he was out the night before after his gig in Tucson taking advantage of the $1 vodkas and it was apparent he was a bit hung over from the previous night. He also could add some polish to his stage presence, he did not move from the microphone. As well, he would do best to shed the flannel shirt. Scanning Greg’s tweets during the week, he tweeted, “Urban Outfitters just got rid of my need for a new shirt ” Saturday. (day after the show) Apparently he got the message. Thanks Urban Outfitters! To Greg’s credit he spent the entire evening after his set at the Merch table greeting and meeting everyone and making himself 100 percent accessible to his fans.
Ingrid Michaelson appeared with a full band unlike most of the performances we have seen of her on late night television and many of her music videos. She was joined by two guitarists, a drummer, and bass player. Ingrid switched throughout her set standing with electric ukulele and sitting behind the keyboards. Ingrid was very engaged with her audience- her personality just overflowed with friendly, witty, and high interaction with her fans in both her intersong dialogue as well as her intrasong comments. For example, the highly tuned in audience, gave out a few “Ooohs and Ahs” when the band began what seemed like the instrumentals to the song, “The Way I Am”, for a good 30 seconds, when suddenly Ingrid slyly brought up the beat by singing a rap song only to switch smoothly back to her popular song again.
Ingrid’s interaction with the band was also very engaging and exciting to watch. Earlier while playing alongside Greg Holden for a song, the band seemed somewhat perfunctory. Now, with Ingrid’s interaction, they came alive. At one point, Ingrid invited Greg Laswell unto the stage for a special “untitled song” duet which Greg wrote for her just recently. Apparently they have been singing this along the current tour (see video below from the NYC below) However, after reviewing the videos from her previous performances with Greg, the one we witnessed was much more intimate.
Ingrid Michaelson & Greg Laswell performing a duet of a beautiful new untitled song that they co-wrote together a few months back. They looked & performed so well onstage together that you’d think they were a couple???
Due to the nature of the venue, there was no “Green Room” for the band to retreat to after the set so Ingrid, in her own quirky way, announced that they would hide somewhere on stage and if we cheered enough, they would come out from their hiding spots to play an encore. In her words, “If we didn’t cheer for it, it would be pretty damn awkward”. Of course, there was, as expected, quite the cheering, stomping, and wooting for them to return. It was funny watching them try to hide, the drummer simply holding up one of his drumsticks and pretending to hide behind it!
The encore was just off the map. Ingrid and the band kicked it up several notches. Ingrid was all over the stage with her tambourine singing and spinning around with the band. You didn’t know where to look but anywhere you did it was all going on. This is one of the rare moments when the setlist and script becomes secondary to the “experience” where music transcends you into its own time and space. Where the “live” experience has no substitutes.
All photos courtesy of Vix at YATM