Katie Herzig and Elizabeth & The Catapult were a pleasant match for a Friday night at The Hamilton. At times the shows at The Hamilton don't quite fit dinner and a show. You can't really rock out while trying to eat your macaroni and cheese. This time everything seemed to be just right.
Elizabeth Ziman of Elizabeth & The Catapult started the show by herself at her keyboard, with "Thank You For Nothing," a mellow ballad. A pretty song, but not exactly a energy booster. Judging by the median age of the crowd, that wasn't much of a concern. The audience may not have wanted or expected a raucous show, but Ziman was clearly trying to have fun and entertain them. As the ever smiley singer was joined by the rest of the band, she announced that the next song was "Wish I Didn't or Ode to the Honey Badger;" getting a laugh out of the crowd. The singer's sense of humor and love of cursing, made the sort of kiss off tune fun to listen to and watch.
Ziman interjected a bit a humor and personality throughout the band's set. Whether it was forgetting to give a cue to her bandmate Lauren, exciting some audience members by mentioning the television show Arrested Development, and performing her should be viral love song about Ryan Gosling, which the crowd loved. While her personality allowed her to connect with the audience, it was the music that still stood out. With almost every song sounding like a different genre, you could really get a good sense of the flexibility of her voice. At times she would sound like Feist, like on "Salt of the Earth," a soulful ballad with a jazzy down home feel. Other times she would sound like Sara Bareilles, like on "Hit The Wall," a mid-tempo song about trying to get back up and stay positive when you've been knocked down. From cabaret-esque songs that showed off Ziman's classical piano training, to the country-grassroots like "Go Away My Lover," Elizabeth & The Catapult were just the right amount of mellow and energetic to get the crowd ready for Katie Herzig.
Going the opposite route of Elizabeth & The Catapult, Herzig started her set with "Drug," one of her more uptempo tracks. The song off her recently released new album Walk Through Walls, is a bit dancey in comparison to her other songs. While the audience weren't moved to dance, Herzig was bouncing around and enjoying it. Later she noticed what Ziman had noticed either, "this is weird, we've been playing clubs where people are so dirty and smelling gross, you guys are so sweet and smell nice." Ziman had also commented on "how polite and attentive" the crowd was.
Which was great for the more quiet, low tempo songs like "I Hurt Too," that would be ruined with a lot of chatter from the audience. One woman in the audience was so moved by the song, or maybe just by seeing Herzig, she had tears streaming down her face. Depending on your current mood, this would be understandable. Herzig's subtle twang can evoke pain, especially when paired with the cello. On "Forgiveness" she is actually wailing and it pierces straight through you. Before playing the song, she explained that it came out of trying to "push through the wall" after her mother's passing. She "literally cry sang" when she finally was able to write and record again.
Of course, Herzig didn't just play the more melancholic songs, she played some of the folk rock songs that she is known for. Including two requests that they hadn't played in years. The woman who was crying earlier, caught Herzig's attention and begged her to "please play something with an apple tree." Having not played "Forevermore" in two years, it took the band a little time to figure out how it went. Eventually they did and the crowd loved it. Prompting requests for "Way To The Future," another song they hadn't played in years. This one Herzig remember how'd to play, but still asked the crowd "do you like doing this, coming to shows where we relearn songs in front of you?" To which the crowd laughed.
She also did crowd favorites like "Lost and Found," "Hey Na Na," and during her encore "Hologram." Herzig pleased fans new and old; those who first heard her on Grey's Anatomy to those who just bought Walk Through Walls. It can be hard to step outside the bubble of the genres and types of music that people expect from you, but Herzig doesn't have to. She, like Ziman, makes emotionally expressive music that does not always fit into a label, nor does it need one.