At the TLA Wednesday night, Maggie Lindemann’s gentle, crystal-clear solo voice was the first thing to sail into the air before the lights came up– a pretty haunting way to begin her short set. Those vocals belong to her song “Human,” a downtempo, R&B-tinged number that opened the evening of music perfectly. She and her musical partner started dancing to get the crowd in the vibe.
Although Lindemann’s backing band consisted primarily of pre-recorded tracks and a keyboard player, she and her stage-mate played a tight set. The 20-year-old singer/songwriter boasts some upbeat, part-synthy, part-instrumental tunes, but she also has a few somber, emotionally delicate songs, like “Would I,” which centers on her apparent struggle with anxiety and depression.
The two musicians played acoustic guitars for the latter in tandem with a backing track, but the mix did not showcase their vocals very well, a common instrumental/vocal rub at live performances, or semi-live, as the case may be. Maybe it was that I temporarily boxed myself in at the side bar drinking a beer at this sold-out, all -ages show, and the mix would have sounded better from the middle of the venue.
Nevertheless, Lindemann’s strong, pristine voice soared through the rest of her songs and soaked them through like butter. In the song “Pretty Girl,” the young singer debunks the misconception that she’s just a pretty face, explaining that she’s complex and multifaceted, like most humans are. Lyrically, the song swims in the same vein as Meredith Brooks’ ‘90s hit “Bitch;” stylistically, it’s closer to Charli XCX. As the mid-range beat in “Pretty Girl” escalated toward the end, the crowd responded in kind and started dancing, hands up and phones swaying.
The soon-to-be-released “Friends Go” closed out the set, which kept the upbeat momentum going. In this ska-infused pop song, digital met acoustic as the keyboard player/beat master busted out a trumpet. The backing track featured some horns as well, emulating the pop punk and reggae-fusion flavors of 90’s bands like No Doubt, but a little more pop than punk.