Published Mar 11, 2011The slightly wacky piano-playing songstress niche seldom has a vacancy. From Tori Amos's unexpectedly long tenure to the rise of Regina Spektor, the position has been consistently filled. With Allie Hughes's diverse résumé, including a faux-wedding and a reality television stint, she never had any designs on the job. Still, she carried off the guise with particular aplomb for this stripped-down afternoon show. With a sparse setup -- occasional piano, backup harmonist, and guitarist -- Hughes relied on her big, versatile, Kate Bush-nodding voice, playful quirks, and plenty of charisma. It takes a unique talent to carry off a should-be-terrifying stalker anthem like "O Chad," and Hughes did it without winking. Charming and gimmick-free, it was a satisfyingly pretty and lively set.