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An Evening with Emily King at the Somerville Theatre

Emily King.
Emily King. By Courtesy of Emily King/ATO Records/J Records/Sony Records
By Joseph P. Kelly, Crimson Staff Writer

“When I sing, it reminds me of what I’m supposed to do,” singer-songwriter Emily King said to a sold-out crowd during her show at the Somerville Theatre.

King evoked the atmosphere of a quaint living room jam session with her latest show, which supported “Acoustic Tour Pt. II.” King performed a sold-out show Feb. 29 — before the current restrictions were enacted — at the Somerville Theatre. The stage was set simply with two stools and two mics surrounded by the soft, warm glow of bare Edison light bulbs. When King took the stage with her writing, producing, and performing partner Jeremy Most, they brought only two guitars, a handful of beautiful harmonies, and minimal backtracking. The venue and setup provided the perfect backdrop for an intimate, stripped back performance.

The Somerville Theatre, which sits in the center of Cambridge’s Davis Square, features both a full movie theater and a live events venue. The events venue is reminiscent of a traditional theater, with a stage for performers and rows of orchestra seats beneath a balcony section. This smaller venue easily adds to the intimacy of an event. King’s show, however, was fittingly held in the theater, and the night felt like more of a show than a concert. While King sang, the audience was quiet, respecting her musicality. The atmosphere of the night felt similar to a group of friends listening on as one casually, beautifully entertains the rest.

King, who hails from New York, reminisced on her personal relationship with Boston, saying that the city has “a special place in my heart.”

“When I was starting over again because I had been fired from my record label” — here, the audience booed — “I started doing gigs again and Boston was one of the first places I came,” King said. “I took the Megabus. I made $75. I performed at a restaurant and I felt like shit after.”

King explained that the sound wasn’t good, the dressing room was lackluster, and it hurt to be restarting her career. King then explained that after leaving the venue she found four people standing outside with CD’s that had three songs she had been working on at the time. They told her “we heard you on soundcloud and we came to your show!” King explained that she cried realizing that they had come to this random restaurant just for her. She finished the anecdote saying that this “changed her whole [mindset].”

“I just felt like, I can do it again,” King said. The audience cheered after her story and before she began her next song, “Down.” The moment of applause was pitch-perfect, illuminating how far King has come from those few dedicated fans to a sold out show in the same city. Boston was the last stop on King’s tour, and it seemed fitting to end in the place that helped her regain her confidence.

In between her heartfelt speeches and songs, King had the audience in hysterics. She spent many of the interludes laughing and joking back and forth with the crowd. She introduced the song “Look at Me Now” with an anecdote, joking that she was walking down the street when she ran into an old friend. She explained that she had seen all the things they had done over the years, but they didn’t know what she was up to, “So I had to tell them like this,” King said before diving into the song, which describes how she is thriving in her life and career. The song ended with a punch. “The sad part is, they still don’t give a fuck about me!” King said.

Throughout the show, the audience quietly listened to King’s humor and serene vocals as well as Most’s incredible guitar skills and harmonies. King invited the audience to join her in the final song of the night, making the crowd just as much a part of the performance as she and Most. King had the audience sing multiple vocal lines, coming together to create a beautiful synergy unique to a concert this small. Instead of one mass of noise, the audience created a beautiful mix of voices that added to King’s performance. The night ended with a beautifully full version of her song “Sleepwalker,” perfectly exemplifying the care and passion that King has for her music and for her fans.

—Staff writer Joseph P. Kelly can be reached at

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