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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Jumping Around The Library With Ingrid Michaelson
or I have lost the ability to think of clever titles so kindly make up your own witticism here and keep your snarkiness to yourself, bitch

(that is the Fiona Apple of subtitles, yo)

one of the best photos I've ever taken
don't know how that happened

Okay, so I have been looking forward to Ingrid Michaelson's return to the Burgh ever since seeing her enormously fun free performance at the Arts Festival a several years ago. A couple week's ago I had the honor to introduce my concert buddy, Mary Ann to the talents of Ms. Michaelson. 

But first, the food. It always seems to be about the food at this age. And the drink. Let's not forget the libation. Sadly in this case the drinks were virginal, unlike the consumers.

Before the show, MA and I feasted on authentic Mexican tacos at a hip new Homestead restaurant called Smoke. The proprietors are from Austin, TX and Meadville, PA. An unlikely combo, but it works in a big way. The atmosphere is funky and the fare fantastic. And we even drank a brown rice Horchata made famous by indie rockers, Vampire Weekend. 

delicious with or without
looking psychotic in a balaclava

(P.S: Burgh Gormand is a great food blogger who is starting up his own big red taco truck soon. I can't wait to try them. Look for him in the city.)

But I digress...

One of the things I love about live shows is the performer's interaction with the audience. I love those little glimpses into the artist's personality. Without that connection, I might as well save my money and just plug in my iPod. 

There are no walls at an Ingrid Michaelson concert. She does not shut herself off from her fan base, she embraces them. She has the enviable ability to turn a nearly 900 seat venue into an intimate cabaret theater with her anecdotes. Cute and quirky, she charms everyone to their feet with the first stroke of her adorable ukulele. 

A ukulele. She plays a ukulele. You can't possibly be depressed when a ukulele's in the room. 

And her voice is absolutely angelic, crisp and clear with an incredible range to die for. She effortlessly engages with her fans throughout the evening with genuine affection. That affection runs both ways.

There was a lovely moment during her cover of Elvis' I Can't Help Falling In Love With You. The band had left her alone on stage at her piano. Half way through the first verse, the entire audience serenaded her. She was visibly touched and got a little verklempt even, stopping several times during the intro of the next number to say how gorgeous the moment was.

She's delightfully witty as well. She tells great stories. A ginormous moth had landed on the guitarist during a number, subsequently chasing Ingrid along the front of the stage. The men folk slapped Mothra to the floor, prompting Ingrid to name it Tristan and compose a song in it's honor, imagining a little montage of she and Tristan holding hands at the beach, taking buggy ride, feeding each other strawberries and so forth. It was hilarious.

I didn't tape that, but did capture her adventure on a Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade float.

Bottom line is, unless you're made of stone, it is impossible not to have a blast and be uplifted after one of her shows. She's witty, talented, smart, charming and has a nice rack for guys.

What? She does! Gotta give the girl her props.

The evening ended too quickly with the entire band surrounding her and her uke, taking turns with the lyrics to her ridiculously catchy You and I while the house joined in the sing along in classic Ingrid style.

It's a rare experience that keeps you happy and humming songs for days afterward. Thanks to Ingrid and her effervescent life force for a joyous night. Come back any time. We'll definitely take you the way you are.