Upon arrival, the living room seemed the ideal size for a house show. But once the music started and more people trickled in, the floor seating became very cozy for a room of near-strangers.
This house show, hosted by the Lighthouse in Happy Valley on Oct. 9 at 8 p.m., featured three acoustic local bands. Scott of a group called We Forgot… opened with just a single song. Although he wasn’t on the bill, he was quickly embraced by the audience the moment his deep, smooth voice filled the room.
Matthew Melrose, a member of the Bellingham-based band Dogs, followed with a solo set. It was the first time I had seen him perform alone and though he started off a bit shaky, those who knew Dogs sang the choruses with him, such as “Love Can Screw You Up.”
In contrast to Melrose’s melancholy, the next musician introduced a new mood when she unveiled a harp. Whitney Flinn, a Seattle-based musician, sang songs of love and social issues with a soulful voice that stood opposite of the harp’s sweet timbre.
She closed with a song about the boys of Bellingham. The crowd caught onto the chorus, “don’t trust the dinos,” quickly and sang along.
But the best was yet to come.
A small-statured woman took the stage next. She donned a blue sequin and tulle dress, which she announced came from the kids section of Target, circular yellow glasses and bright red sneakers.
This is Inge Chiles of Ings, another band from Seattle, who sang of platonic lovers and awkward experiences when saying “I love you.” Although the amp of her guitar slightly overpowered her soft voice, the audience couldn’t get enough and begged for an encore when she finished her set.
“This is the first solo show I’ve played in awhile,” Chiles said. “I usually have a three-piece ensemble that I arrange for.”
Influencers for Ings’ sound includes Chiles’ mom’s musical taste, which include John Lennon and musicals by George Gershwin and Rodgers & Hammerstein, she said. But other than that, it’s hard to fit them into a specific genre.
“Over the years, I’ve kind of made up this term which is ‘Lullaby Rock’ because I really seek to embrace both ends of the dynamic spectrum, like being really quiet and also at times loud,” Chiles said.
Ings plans to perform more frequently in Bellingham in the near future with her band, she said.