I was excited to see Missy Higgins play at (le) Poisson Rouge in New York City last night, despite the fact that I’m not a typical singer-songwriter music fraek. I mean, I'm neither a fan of the acoustic guitar nor one of those guys those who think the best way to keep a party going is to play a cover of “Like a Rolling Stone.”
I’d heard buzz about Missy, however, the bisexual Aussie's albums top the charts back home and all my friends of the sapphic persuasion assured me that this was a show not to be missed. I decided to go in with an open mind; perhaps this would change my views on acoustic music.
I’d seen long lines at Poisson Rouge before, but never one like this. After rounding the corner and getting to the back of the line, I took a survey of the crowd. I wouldn’t say it was entirely made up of lesbians, but if there were a Triangle Shirtwaist Factory-esque fire at the place, PE class would definitely be canceled the next day.
After getting into the black box venue, I came to the realization that I would not be getting any photos and would need my opera glasses to see the stage as every inch of floor space near the dais was occupied. It’s clear that Missy has devoted fans; they'd already scoped out their spots and wouldn’t move despite my pushing, pleading. If I'd said that I had lymphoma and that this was my Make-A-Wish it still would have been a non starter.
Just as I was getting antsy, Butterfly Boucher graced the stage. I know that being an opener’s not an easy job, and it’s no fun playing to a cold crowd, but Boucher’s lack of gravitas didn’t succeed wrestling the crowd’s attention from the bar—or their iPhones. By the end of her set, she’d managed to warm up the crowd sufficiently, perhaps only because Higgins herself sang backup for Boucher's last number.
After a brief intermission, Higgins went on. Higgins is, without a doubt, an immensely talented act. Her voice, warm and melodic, had the crowd spellbound from the very first note. Most of the songs were off her new album, The Ol’ Razzle Dazzle. From the moment she sang “If I’m Honest” she managed to hold my interest. The crowd was hooked from “Set Me on Fire,” her next song, through the rest of her set. It seems that this singer-songwriter doesn't need any help to get the crowd to love her.