Out on another school night. Eric Hutchinson at Boston’s Royale.

by amy

It is not easy to go out on a Monday night. Especially when the next day is a busy (and early) work day. But for Eric Hutchinson, I will always make an exception.

At the start of this workweek, the Boston’s Royale Lounge was home to a packed crowd ready to hear Tristan Prettyman and Eric Hutchinson on their City and Sand Tour. The doors opened a few minutes past seven, and unlike other shows (like the time I missed Gavin DeGraw perform while I stood outside the venue chatting because I thought he had an opening act), I was determined to get in and set up camp—especially since this one was General Admission. And as an aside, if you are local and ever have a chance to see a show at the Royale, I highly recommend it. Wear comfortable shoes because you will be standing the whole time, but you can get up close and really experience the music in a way that you can’t at a larger venue.

Around 7:30, British singer-songwriter Nick Howard took the stage for a seven-song set that was just fantastic. He was witty and seemed quite relaxed as he engaged the crowd in between his songs. In some ways, his sound reminded me of a cross between James Morrison and the lead singer of The Script. Really great. He is coming back to Boston for a show on April 8, and I will definitely plan to go.

Nick Howard.

Nick Howard.

Next up was indie pop songstress and California native (i.e. the “sand” part of the tour) Tristan Prettyman. Readers may know her name from her previous engagement to singer Jason Mraz, but she is a standalone name in her own right. She sang songs from her earlier albums as well as the new song “Waves” from her latest EP. The highlight, however, may have been her rendition of Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy”—which I loved! Prettyman is such a talented guitar player and natural performer that she is a pleasure to watch.

Tristan Prettyman.

Tristan Prettyman performs in her cool romper.

After her set, Eric Hutchinson took the stage—though he wasn’t wearing his signature striped shirt, ha ha. He was accompanied by a three-piece band (drums, bass, and guitar/keyboards). As usual, he put on a stellar show. If you haven’t ever heard him live, you are missing out—his is a voice that doesn’t need autotune or studio filters. And his ability to switch back and forth from keyboard to guitar without missing a beat is a gift. I love how he always integrates mashup medleys into his shows too—this time, it was “All Over Now” with Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off” and Outkast’s “Hey Ya.” Sounds like an odd mix, but it worked! Here is a quick clip of EH that I took before my phone died!

I was a little bleary-eyed on Tuesday morning from the late night, but it was worth it. Three talented performers, a wonderful show, and a great venue. A win on all fronts!