The Factory Theatre was buzzing on Thursday night, full of young females eager to see the latest "it" girl - New York's Ingrid Michaelson.
Local solo artist Jack Carty was given support duties, and played through a set with songs off his brilliant EP Wine and Consequence, as well us some new tracks. Of particular mention was Jack's standout cover of Bob Dylan's "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right". His finely tuned skills on both guitar and harmonica (not to mention his voice) would make Dylan proud. A quality local talent!
Ingrid Michaelson walked on stage to loud, adoring screams from the predominantly young female crowd. It's amazing how quickly word travels about talent these days... here I was thinking she was unknown (locally, at least)! Ingrid (wearing the sort of glasses that Washington seems to have popularised locally in recent months...) wasted no time getting into the swing of things - with ukulele in hand, and two backing male vocalists / acoustic guitarists / bassists. "Soldier" set the night off to a great start, showcasing Ingrid's skills as a writer and a live performer.
Unfamiliar with her music, I immediately warmed to her on stage presence and talents. And while she does get a bit angsty/ironic "Daria" at times, which may frustrate some, her quirky nature (for me at least), only adds to her likeability. It all feels genuine.
And her interaction with the crowd was some of the best I'd seen in recent times. It's not that she had to do much to win the crowd over though - this was very much an adoring crowd, willing to do anything asked of them. Usually this involved some back and forth singing - such as during "The Hat", which she dedicated to all the new couples in the room, despite being about hearts broken. Oh, irony.
As the set continued she played tracks like "Be OK" and single "The Way I Am", which both got wonderful crowd receptions, and were one of the many tracks playing with a bit of a Fiona Apple meets Regina Spektor vibe. But when she played "Everybody Wants to Love", I started noticing a bit of a Jack Johnsons vibe, too. Maybe it was the Uke. Speaking of which, Ingrid attempted to upstage Amanda Palmer by performing "Creep" by Radiohead on the Uke. And funnily enough, I think she did. But the ultimate question is - who did it first? A beautiful cover of "Can't Help Falling In Love" was another highlight of the evening, and closed out the night.
Ingrid wasn't on the uke the whole performance, of course - we also saw her break out the piano for songs like "The Chain". Meanwhile, the vibe moved into the poppy territory with "Parachute" - showing herself off as a versitilie little performer indeed. And when you combine this versatility with 'zingers' like "Justin Beiber - he's an embryo with a hearpiece", and her willingness to appease the crowd (she took a "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" cover request, for one, despite not really knowing how to play it. She did a pretty impressive job considering) - and you have yourself a damn fine performer, and a damn fine evening.
I have a feeling this is going to be one of those "hey, remember when Ingrid played the intimate Factory Theatre and now she's selling out the Opera House... well I was there!!" sort of gigs. And now, while the people in the room are going to tell all their friends about it, we'll sit and wait for the local 'spreading of the word' to commence!