by Rachel Saywitz
I wouldn’t have expected Miya Folick’s opening act at the Great Scott – indie-pop band Barrie – to elicit such an electric response from the crowd. The band’s performance was humble in nature, given their gentle-sounding discography and the soft voice of the lead singer. Still, the audience was loud and boisterous, not necessarily fitting in with the more reserved sound of Barrie. My confusion at everyone’s excitement was soon answered when Barrie paused their set and the lead singer stated that she was from Boston. The crowd cheered in response. While Barrie’s sound couldn’t have been more different from Miya Folick’s headlining set , the crowd’s energy after Barrie was only amplified throughout the night, never lapsing despite the changing moods.
Folick began her performance quietly, snapping her fingers into the microphone and singing an unreleased minute-length song in acapella. She then moved into the first full-length song of the night, “Premonitions,” with a full band. I was struck by her immediate strength and presence – her voice glided all the way to the back of the venue, easily rising over the voices of mingling bar patrons. It was impressive, but not surprising: Folick is a classically-trained vocalist with the skills to belt out verses that are powerful but never grating.
Despite the small stage and minimal set up, Folick showcased a riveting roller coaster of emotion, and the crowd responded accordingly. When she swayed to the slow groove of “Cost Your Love,” everyone lazily moved along with her. Afterwards, Folick showed off her goofier side with the upbeat, sassy numbers “Leave The Party” and “Stop Talking” as she made lasso movements with her hands and danced with band members. People danced along with vivacious intensity to the sprightly music, and it felt like the whole crowd experienced the same pleasurable feeling that only a disco-sounding track could create.
Folick’s musical prowess truly shined as she sang the rock ballad “Thingamajig,” a song about guilt and remorse. Her voice was restrained yet sincere as she crooned, “so take it all / I want to be out of control.” Folick addressed the crowd with her band quietly playing in the background. “I feel like I’m unworthy…like I don’t belong on this stage,” she spoke somberly. “But that’s a myth. What if the people who perpetrated that myth…what if they apologize and tell you the f*cking truth.” The crowd was emboldened by her statement, an admission of her own self-doubt and an acknowledgement of personal responsibility. She returned to the song, singing the lines “only you know what to do know,” as if to emphasize her message.
Throughout the night, Folick proved that the excitement she brought to Great Scott was through both her loudest and quietest moments. Near the end of the set, she cheekily sang out the names of her band members, and then passionately belted out her last song, “Give it to Me.” Even at the concert’s close, the energy was as electrifying as the start.