It’s hard to keep all of the sensitive, smart songstress types straight.--- To some, the difference between Ingrid Michaelson, Kate Nash and Anya Marina might be indistinguishable, but to the moderate size, but attentive, crowd gathered at The State Room Saturday night, siren Katie Herzig does not fade into the canvas of introspective indie-pop princesses.
Although this was Herzig’s second show in Salt Lake City this year, she was still able to draw a following of loyal fans to hear her belt out -- and whisper -- a handful of songs from her last couple of albums. She opened the set with “Wasting Time,” a song as classically poignant as a Charlie Kaufman screenplay. Herzig continued the tear-jerking ballads relentlessly; a woman near the stage sobbed through “Wish You Well.”
Herzig has that visceral quality typical of chick music that makes it seem completely natural to burst into tears while listening to an airy round of vocals repeating lyrics about heartbreak and regret. But she also has a youthful and childlike playfulness in a crop of her songs scattered like happy daffodils amongst a patch of weeping willows. Songs like “Midnight Serenade,” “Fairtytail,” and “Hey Na Nah,” sport catchy choruses that sound like, and sometimes borrow lyrics from, children’s playground songs.
Jordan Hamlin, one of Herzig’s accompanists, added much more complexity and elegance to the set with her many talents. Hamlin played over five different instruments during the show, switching between clarinet and French horn in the same song. She and cello player, Clair Indie, crooned backup vocals to almost every song. It transformed songs like “Way to the Future” from average to awe-filled.
Herzig did not let down her fans, who were overwhelmingly female, in a set that included her best and most touching songs, such as “I Hurt Too.” She also offered a pleasant surprise when she announced she would be closing the set with a cover. The band started with a teaser for “The Phantom of the Opera,” but settled on a rendition of Patsy Cline's “Sweet Dreams” that didn’t disappoint in paying homage to the original. She did end up leaving on an original note, though, and played “Way to the Future” as the encore song.
All photos by Cara Stosich.