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Lucy Schwartz At Mercury Lounge, Tuesday, January 17th, 2012, Reviewed

In half an hour, Californian singer-songwriter Lucy Schwartz connected with a sweetness that didn't undercut her intensity, with an ease and pleasure three top indie bands -Girls, Real Estate, and King Krule, didn't come close to in three hours on Saturday at T5.

Alone on stage except during a late set duet, Lucy' never seemed intimidated her her surroundings  and never at odds with her surroundings. Her off-center prettiness , naturalness and flare for the comic  was both guileless and daring: like a stand up comic, she knew she had the songs but also knew to sell them to us. With just a keyboard between herself and the audience, and with folks who, if they knew her songs  al all were not singing along, made nothing but friends Tuesday night. . Nothing beats a sparkling wit, a cute smile, a clutch of world beating songs, and ease in your own skin, to get an audience on your side and Lucy had that and then sum.

And she needs them because some of her songs are pretty damn miserable. "Who put the gas on me, who lit the flame?" she sings at one point and the song is a disquieting and mooted pop ballad with classical leanings.All her songs exist in a certain framework of L.A. singer-songwriter and left to themselves might drift. But she straps em on tight and gets all of em with a coiling, ranging vocal attack  Lucy has a lovely voice and a fairly wide range and she seems to curl herself into the song,. At one point she turns on a tape of beatss, which she got from a Church organ she had to manually pump, and which, because of the heaviness of the beats, she calls her hip hop song. Then Lucy  deviates from the setlist because she doesn't want too many sad ones and duets on  "Darling I Do", the  number off the Shrek 4 soundtrack. She also has a song on The Help soundtrack, suggesting she has good management behind her as well as good songs.

Indeed, quite why she is opening at Mercury Lounge five years into her career is beyond me. The woman is fun as hell on stage, getting the audience to singalong on the wonderful and fun title track off her 2010 album  Life In Letters . Just before that she tells a dead funny story about almost drowning while filming the music video for the songs. Honestly, half an hour of pure magic.

I ask again, why is this woman not more famous.? Maybe she should change her name to Miranda Schwartz and move to Nashville. God knows, there is always a market somewhere for gifted songwriters who can do it all on stage.

Grade: A-

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