Singer-songwriter Julia Michaels isn’t shy about talking — or singing — about her personal problems, as evidenced in her sold-out show at the House of Blues Saturday.
Ever since releasing her single “Issues” in 2017, Michaels has made vulnerability a cornerstone of her music. Even before she took the stage over the weekend, she had a large poster brought out that read “Judgment Free Zone,” complete with a checklist of what was encouraged at the performance. It included singing, dancing, feeling, laughing and jumping.
“Pink” was the first song of the night and a screaming crowd belting lyrics back to Michaels set the bar high in terms of energy and audience participation for the rest of the night.
The stage was covered in oversized, blow up daisy flowers and complemented Michaels’ look for the night: a casual, youthful floral-print shirt, jeans and scrunchies on her wrists, complete with bright pink, sparkly eye-makeup.
Michaels said in an interview with The Daily Free Press before the event that she enjoys performing at venues where she feels connected to her fans.
“We were doing these theaters where it’s super intimate,” Michaels said. “Sometimes I can literally touch them and go in the crowd. It’s just such a wonderful, supportive environment.”
To better connect with fans, Michaels stepped into the crowd during a cover performance of “Forget You” by Cee Lo Green that eventually transitioned into her own song “Falling For Boys.”
The talent and versatility of Micheal’s band was also a highlight; at one point, during a performance of “I Miss You,” the band formed into a marching band style style line up with their instruments hanging off their chests. It was a delight to see band members so involved in the performance, eliminating the need for backup dancers.
The lights turned deep blue for “Hurt Again,” as Michaels performed a slower, softer version of the original song. Michaels has a unique talent of being able to articulate emotions and experiences into well-crafted, catchy songs.
“There are so many people crying and letting things out and it really is such a beautiful moment,” Michaels said about the crowd while she sings slow songs.
Michaels pumped energy right back into the room with “Happy,” one of her favorite songs to perform live, she said.
“Happy is one of those songs were everybody just shouts the pre-chorus and I don’t even have to sing it,” Michaels said. “You just feel the room, fill up with this cathartic experience and everyone just sort of releasing themselves for a moment and it just feels really good.”
With laughing during “Priest,” crying during “Anxiety” and dancing during “Issues” Michaels’ performance was an emotional rollercoaster in the best way possible.