I arrived a few minutes late to Lindsey Cohen’s performance at Arlene’s Grocery, a venue in New York’s Lower East Side, and while my license was being checked by the bouncer, a few minutes past 8, the sounds of the audience erupting could be heard from the pavement.
And rightly so. Not only was Lindsey’s performance impressive, but she was also celebrating the development of her new single, “Daisies,” which is now available on iTunes. Between that and Lindsey’s oddly mature, sophisticated, yet fresh vocals, there was much cause for the audience to cheer.
Garbed in no-nonsense black pants, heels and blouse with a white blazer, Cohen took the stage with a four-piece band. Her youth — she’s 17 — only came across during the gaps between one song and the next, as she seemed a little nervous when announcing song-title. Once she began, her voice took over completely, and I had to ask myself whether she really was 17 or 34.
Her dark contralto, or as it’s been called, dusky voice that’s likened to Anna Nalick, Sheryl Crow and Sara Bareilles, commanded the audience’s attention instantly. As natural and smooth as a whisper, her vocals were spot on for the entirety of the show and never faltered with a squeak or a crack. Her timing was equally as impressive, as far as I could tell; and she was aware enough of her band that the instrumentation never clashed with her voice.
Out of the songs she performed, a few stuck out. During the first half, her band stepped aside and left Cohen alone on stage with a keyboard. She delivered a spine-chillingly authentic cover of Anna Nalick’s “Just Breathe” that I’ll have to say was just about perfect. Then, after the band came back out, they brought out the rock with a raspy and seductive cover of “Little Black Submarine.”
The title track of her EP, “Grace Under Pressure,” has the makings of a future radio single. “Daisies” closed the performance with a fresh take on the “he loves me” “he loves me not” question.
All in all, Cohen’s show struck all the right chords and proves that she’ll have no problem in expanding her musical career. “Grace Under Pressure” is expected sometime in January.
Ben Rader can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.