Ingrid Andress was the name on everyone’s lips at C2C: Country to Country Festival this year. Originally from Denver, Colorado, she wowed audiences with her heartfelt emotional songs, and has also worked with artists including Sam Hunt and Alicia Keys. Now she’s back on this side of the pond for a run of three sold-out shows, including her first UK headline show at The Courtyard Theatre in London last night.
Accompanied by her two-piece band, Andress arrived on stage shortly after 9pm. She opened her set with Bad Advice, which had a slinky, tropical vibe going into a rocky chorus. I loved the soul and richness in her voice and she showed off some serious belt too, moving around on stage and at one point bending over backwards whilst gripping her microphone stand. The audience burst into applause as she finished and that set the bar for the next 45 minutes.
Throughout the set Andress performed a mix of her own songs as well as those she’s written for other artists. Her version of Charli XCX’s hit Boys had a sparse, twangy feel with an almost rapped delivery, whilst she brought sweet vocals and raw emotion to her laid-back take on About You, which she wrote for new pop artist FLETCHER. However for me the standout was her spin on Lewis Capaldi’s Someone You Loved. Andreas took a stripped-back approach that emphasised her vocals, particularly on the huge chorus, and I was really impressed by her vocal control and the touch of gravel in her voice.
That said, there was plenty of room for Andress’ own material too. Both was an early highlight, which saw her jumping round the stage and dropping to the floor as she delivered a passionate rendition of the song, whilst the heartfelt We’re Not Friends mixed her subdued vocals with crashing drums and some impressive high notes. Her stage presence throughout was absolutely mesmerising to watch – she had the ease and confidence who’s been doing this for decades – and I loved how warm and chatty she was on stage too, frequently cracking jokes and telling the stories behind her songs.
One thing I really loved about Andress’ set was getting to see some different sides of her sound. The cheeky Waste Of Lime,s which she described as ‘the happiest song I’ve ever written’ had a great old-school country feel and plenty of sass, whilst love song Seeing Blue For The First Time was packed with lush, vivid imagery of swimming pools and Levi 505s. She also played tracks from her upcoming album, including the heartstring-tugging Anything But Love and The Stranger, which had an ethereal, nostalgic quality and got the biggest crowd response of the night.
For me the standout song was Life Of The Party. The delicate melody was a great balance to Andress’ deadpan delivery in the verses, before exploding into a thumping chorus. I loved the contrast with the bittersweet lyrics and Andress showed off some serious vocal chops too. You really felt she gave it her all and was completely lost in the music.
Andress closed the main section of her set with More Hearts Than Mine. Sitting behind her keyboard as she played the moving melody, she poured tons of warmth and affection into the song and I loved her storytelling too, which made the whole thing very relatable. The crowd were singing along throughout and she looked completely blown away by their response as she thanked them for coming out. She then returned to the stage to perform her first single Lady Like for the encore. I felt the song really summed up her performance, starting with soft smooth vocals before building to a big rocky chorus that saw her whooping and hollering as she swaggered about the stage. The crowd joined in on every word and burst into cheers and applause as she brought it to a close.
Overall I came away feeling very impressed by Ingrid Andress and thought she was a really exciting live performer. She had great vocals throughout her set, incredible stage presence and showed off her skills as a songwriter, as well as drawing on a range of diverse styles to give her a completely unique sound. It’s clear why she was such a favourite at C2C and based on this I think her album will be a strong contender for debut of the year in 2020. Here’s hoping she’ll be back in the UK soon showing even more people just what she can do.
Set list: 1. Bad Advice 2. Both 3. Boys (made famous by Charli XCX) 4. About You (made famous by FLETCHER) 5. We’re Not Friends 6. Anything But Love 7. The Stranger 8. Someone You Loved (Lewis Capaldi cover) 9. Waste Of Lime 10. Life Of The Party 11. Seeing Blue For The First Time 12. More Hearts Than Mine 13. Lady Like Performance date: 24th September 2019