Ingrid Michaelson played a sold-out show Monday night at the Egg’s Hart Theater, which was packed with teen girls. She played a set of her teen-heavy radio-friendly songs about boys, love and always hope.
For the outlets that have put her on the charts — TV shows such as “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scrubs” play her songs, and also an Old Navy ad — her voice is surprisingly not classic-sweet, nor pretty. Her vocals on songs like “Parachute” and “Fire,” which she opened with, are edgier than the typical TV series tunes.
Her range is not wide, and she rarely rises or falls, but just sings the song straightforward.
“Soldier” is more like you’d expect, with the opening lyrics, “I don’t believe in anything but myself.”
It was nice to see women in a band — both guitarists, to make it even more special — a rarity for all rock and pop bands. Good for her.
Michaelson strummed an acoustic for most of the tunes. When she had nothing in her hands, she seemed a bit awkward, forcing her arms to rise or wave forward for drama. But to her credit, she’s not an overly dramatic singer — she leans on the songs to carry the show, and the band’s job is to deliver the songs as directly as possible.
She sat at the piano for a few softer ones, like “Ghost,” her standard ballad of extreme heartbreak, exactly what her fans want to hear. She sang, by herself, a moving cover of “Can’t Help Falling In Love With You.” “I played this so many times I feel like I wrote it.”
Michaelson, 33, likes to talk, and if you didn’t want to hear her stories, “sorry.” She has fun on stage, and is downright zany. She talked about “slaughtering a python in the deserts of Albany,” then skinning it to make the pants she was wearing on stage. She complained about the pants being too tight, so she did the “pants too tight dance” to stretch them out.
Polling the age of her audience — most were around 23 — she plays the older-sister role. She said stuff like “You’re really cute and I like you.”
She did not know “Freebird” when someone shouted it for request, so she made up her own version, which wasn’t close, but hilarious. “I knew that this Egg would make us crazy.”
Raised in Staten Island and attending college in Binghamton, she talked about watching late-night TV and eating wings for a good time. After nearly 15 minutes of horsing around without a song — but wildly entertaining — they finally played “Mountain and the Sea.” She followed with a serious moment to sing “San Francisco.”
Michaelson’s music clearly hits a chord for the high-teens and low-20s females. Her music is good, but what was most impressive Monday night was her comfort level at hamming it up.
Scars on 45 opened the show. A British band with the same approach as Michaelson — radio friendly tunes about love and hope appealing to the teen ear and heart. Smooth, driving singles with soothing harmonies, all pop should be this harmless. Songs like “Beauty’s Running Wild (on your face),” which played on the TV show “CSI New York,” “Promises Are Empty Words” and “Hearts on Fire,” one of their two existing singles, all had catchy hooks and vocals somewhat yearning without whining. It’s all about the four-minute song, and the hope of one of them catching somehow somewhere.