So it costs an arm and a leg to buy a ticket to see Coldplay on their tour, but luckily you can see a similar artist for a much more reasonable price—at least until the secret is out about Greg Laswell and he becomes so popular he could get away with naming his firstborn after a fruit.
Laswell opened for Ingrid Michaelson and his soothing indie pop was the perfect compliment for her own gentle set. Laswell had the disadvantage of being in a ridiculously hot venue that caused the audience’s attention to wander. He is fortunately a very charismatic man who told funny anecdotes amongst his rather sad songs that kept the audience focused.
Yes, they were sad songs and if you couldn’t hear the sadness in the minor chords he played, Laswell would point out the sadness. “I dreamed that my grandmother came to me and told me to write happy songs,” Laswell said. “I immediately woke up and wrote another sad one.”
The song he wrote for his grandmother, following his dream, was “Sing, Theresa Says.” It’s an adorable song that starts off with some happy major chords that quickly dissolve into the more morose minor chords. The bass harmonies on this tune showed it to have a rather interesting breakdown, making it one of my favorites of the night.
The most surprising part of his set was when he started performing a cover of Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.” For this amazing cover alone, it was worth hearing his set. The piano arrangement slowed the tune down considerably and combined with his tender vocals, it was practically a new song. His version removed the cheesiness that I feel makes the original so loathsome if you have to listen to it more than once, but his gives the song a depth I would never have thought possible.
If you watch Laswell’s face during his songs, you can see how much emotion he is putting behind his every word, his every chord. His music isn’t very complex, but in its simplicity it is gorgeous. He might not be the super group Coldplay, but Laswell’s funny yet somber set comes close to surpassing that of those amphitheater kings.
01. What A Day
02. Sing Theresa Says
03. Come Undone
04. Days Go On
05. Embrace Me
06. Do What I Can
07. How the Day Sounds
08. Girls Just Wanna Have Fun
09. High and Low
Greg Laswell: myspace