Portland singer-songwriter Haley Heynderickx performed Tuesday night for a well-attended show at Der Rathskeller in Memorial Union.
University of Wisconsin alumnus Abby Sherman, who plays under the name Addison Christmas, opened the show. Her music, which was slightly alternative, gave those who craved a bit more edge their fill, but also included more chill songs to balance the performance.
Fellow Oregonian Lily Breshears, known by stage name Sheers, performed a set between the two artists. It was composed of harp, vocals and bass, which made for almost a dreamlike performance. The soul in her voice softened some of her more explicit lyrics, making it not sound as “R-Rated,” as Sheers described it.
Only one of the songs that she performed had been recorded, so the rest were all new to the crowd.
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As Heynderickx stepped out onto the stage for her set, the attendees’ excited chatter quickly died down.
She had an immediate charm, relating to the students present in the audience with a brief bit about her own college experience, saying in her almost melodic voice that she was “stressful as fuck.”
Heynderickx started her set with a lovely cover of “Don’t You Take it Too Bad” by Townes Van Zandt. The rasp in her voice as she sang gave a slight sultry edge to the tune, and she reached the high notes with ease.
A highlight was her performance of “Drinking Song,” which she jokingly described as not being a song for those under 21. Sheers’ soft harp and vocal accompaniment on this song complimented Heynderickx’s voice perfectly.
Her witty commentary continued throughout the show.
“I’m so happy to be in Germany tonight,” Heynderickx joked of the venue.
One of the most compelling songs of the night was her first released single, “Fish Eyes,” which she said sneakily told her parents’ love story.
The way she intertwined speaking and singing to tell stories through song reminded the audience of a softer and more folky Courtney Barnett. These stories had a range of themes, from religion to beauty standards to breakups.
In the middle of the set, she invited the audience to practice a social skill so many are lacking in, by introducing themselves to a stranger during “an interactive 45-second song” while she tuned her guitar.
The crowd hollered as she introduced her pop hit, “Oom Sha La La.” Everyone bopped around as she sang, and once she built to the breakdown, they all shouted, “I need to start a garden” along with her, which is also the title of her album released last year.
She closed the show with the somewhat melancholy yet pleasant tune, “No Face,” for which she received well-deserved applause for as it ended.