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LIVE REVIEW: Z100 Boolandia Festival With Mary Lambert And Ingrid Michaelson Alhambra Theatre, Portland OR

In just a five song set each, Mary Lambert and Ingrid Michaelson give the audience at Alhambra Theatre a wonderful, funny and moving performance.

Lambert is giggly, a child at heart and completely honest about everything. She opens her heart to us with every story, every song, and every spoken word piece. In one story she explains how interviewers take advantage of her emotional honesty by asking her about her rape. She overflows with so much raw emotion, it’s impossible not to crying along with her, and she cries a lot. “Crying is a hobby,” she says.

Lambert doesn’t fit into any existing genre. She needs one just for her. I propose “spoken-alternative.” I can imagine Lambert in a coffee house in the early 1960s on the same bill as Allen Ginsberg.

Lambert starts the show with “So Far Away,” explaining that it took her forever to write the song because one line did not make grammatical sense. It is now that she tells her first story. There was a shooting in her home town last week. She believes that violence like this has a lot to do with inability to live up to live up to unattainable ideals imposed by popular culture.

As she begins “Body Love,” the entire audience starts to tear up. With every word she apologizes to herself for ever feeling shameful of her own past. In affirming herself as she is, she inspires others to do the same.

Before “Ribcage” she confides to us, “I should probably say trigger warning because this song mentions rape. Welcome to a Mary Lambert show.” Even on the album, the song is haunting, but standing there in front of her, seeing her eyes as she sings, intensifies its emotional power. This is not her only song that is more powerful live.

Dance music and a Z100 iHeartRadio street team photo shoot fills the 30 minute break, (It took that long to start breathing normally again). Then Ingrid Michaelson takes the stage. Greeted by audience screams worthy of obsessed fangirls, she tells us, “you just make me feel like Justin Bieber.” We love Michaelson’s humor as much as Lambert’s honesty. Between every song she throws candy into the audience telling us, “I spent $30 on you people. I don’t fuck around.” Maybe the candy isn’t a good idea though, because she accidentally hits someone in the face. For the entire set she jokingly apologizes for the “injury” by changing lyrics to fit the situation.

The set is completely acoustic giving each song a folk feel. The entire audience sings at the top of their lungs, singing louder for her three most well known songs, “The Way I Am,” “Be Okay” and “Girls Chase Boys.” Her enjoyment of the set radiates throughout the audience.

For two of the shortest sets I have ever seen. Both Lambert and Michaelson gave headline worthy performances. Do not pass up the opportunity to see either of them live.

You can purchase a CD or buy concert tickets here for Mary Lambert.

You can purchase a CD or buy concert tickets here for Ingrid Michaelson.

Also, be sure to check out my review of Mary Lambert’s recently released album, Heart On My Sleeve here.

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Ariella Laichas-Malamud

Co-editor of this fine publication and loving every minute of it. Music is my life as seen by all of my usernames. When I'm not doing music, I'm watching netflix or talking about poetry. Native to sunny city by the beach, English major in one of the rainiest cities on earth.

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