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Monday, September 28, 2009

Live Show Review: Greg Holden and Ingrid Michaelson

Stop it England. Stop sending angelic-voiced, ubertalented English boys to expose bare chests and bum-accentuating jeans on the stages of the States.

From Lancashire, England—by way of New York—Greg Holden has come to woo women throughout the nation with his honey-sweet music and quirky British personality and as he grows over these next few months, through his tour with Ingrid Michaelson, it will be safe to call him the Robert Pattinson persona of the music world. No woman can deny a man with an accent…especially if he is a damn good musician.

Its hard to put a finger on who Holden sound most like, which in turn means the quality of his voice is unique and his songwriting capabilities seem creatively endless. Taking an interesting indie-like spin on the John Mayer’s of the current popular culture, Holden keeps it light while laying it on thick. Even his upbeat songs have a certain “quiet” quality to them.

New York, New York, Holden was a part of it, and the love for his first U.S. home, Brooklyn, is reflected in the lyrics of “Your Scaring Me” and several of his Living Room Series untitled tracks for reasons Holden openly shares with his audience. Leaving the U.K. without a cent to his name and everything that could have been in his pockets sold to front his trip to the States, guitar-less and jetlagged our budding-Brit brought his talent across the pond.

In “Bar A” Holden confirms the stereotypical life of a handsome Brit in the U.S. But, according to his Myspace, Holden is experiencing the pangs of a musician’s life that come along with finding fame, living off Ramen and struggling to pay the rent.

However, his nationwide tour with Michaelson is crucial in expanding his musical career and a little advice to Holden: better keep taking pictures of your audience now because pretty soon the masses won’t fit within one camera frame. As he sings a version of the popular hit, Holden will be “Walking On Sunshine,” soon enough.

Holden and Michaelson may have found musical harmony in each other. Though the two have very different overall sounds, they share a story-telling ability in their lyrics and a purity in their vocals that sets them apart from other artists. The simple ease in which the two switch to falsetto is proof enough that music is second nature to them both.

Native to the States, Michaelson proved in her rendition of “The Way I Am” to be the fresh princess of Bel Air—or in reality, Staten Island. Who said indie girls can’t rap? Entertaining her audience is part of Michaelson’s A+ stage presence as she dons her shoulders with a sparkled shawl, strums the ukulele, and fakes the ever-popular swine flu. She is genuinely having a good time, and wants her audience to participate in every way possible. Her whit travels beyond her indie-girl lyrics and makes a punch through her personality.

The old with the new, Michaelson digs back to her early days with “Keep Breathing” and “You and I,” while hyping fans with new tracks from recently debuted album, Everybody. An acoustic version of  Radiohead’s “Creep” solidifies Michaelson’s eccentric creativity. Add in a few rhythmic handclaps, a roomful singing the choruses, and a your-part-my-part incorporation and the audience is no longer solely a listener, but a participant.

Michaelson sends her audience on an emotional rollercoaster through her clever narratives and heart-piercing melodies. Her solo-worthy backup singers amplify her talents and the obvious bond the entire band shares goes beyond the stage. The happiness pulsates through the room and leaves the audience in a cheerful stupor, never wanting it to end.  Encore! Encore! Chant loud enough and Michaelson and company, along with their tour mate, Greg Holden, will deliver.

Check out Holden and Michaelson on stage together singing Michaelson's "You and I."

-Marie Baginski
Currently listening to "Bar A" by Greg Holden

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