I’ve seen Sondre three times before, but each performance was solo. Seeing him play with a band was very different. And awesome. And louder.

Leona Naess
Leona Naess

But before all that, Leona Naess opened. I’m rarely captivated by openers (the only other one I can think of right now is CocoRosie), but I immediately liked her. She didn’t change my life (um…few things do), but I really enjoyed her set and wouldn’t had minded if it were longer. I think it has to do with her lilting voice. I like things that lilt, apparently…

…such as the sounds of a pedal steel guitar, which was used during Sondre’s set. EVERY SONG SHOULD HAVE A PEDAL STEEL GUITAR! YESSS!

Sondre + band
Sondre + band

Sondre informed us in the beginning that it would be a long night since he planned on playing his new material for the upcoming album he and his band are going to record in LA. Overly humble as usual, he thanked us over and over again for 1) staying the whole time and 2) being so receptive to the new songs. He said we could go outside and take a breather every now and then if it got too long. At the end of the show while explaining that he had CDs for sale, he said there were also t-shirts for anyone who didn’t want a CD. (And if you didn’t want a CD or shirt…well, you’re just screwed.)

The new album was quite rock-filled. Different from anything else he’s done, basically (well, not INSANELY different; if he made an electronic album, that would be more “wuh?” worthy). The highlight of the evening for me was when he played a short Norwegian folksong called Lulu. He enticed us to stay by saying he’d have a conversation in Norwegian with his bandmades at the end of the show, but that didn’t happen. 🙁 I guess the song replaced that.

The crowd was very enthusiastic. There was this one guy who was a bit of a heckler…but maybe he just really liked Sondre. A running joke through the night was that Sondre would sing a bit from “You’re Beautiful” by James Blunt. I also think he misheard someone say “Sleep on Needles” as “Sweet Anita”, so he referred to it by its butchered name.

I’d rate the concert as “very awesome”. I would’ve enjoyed it more if I had been less tired, if I hadn’t been standing being a 6-foot tall guy, and if I didn’t keep spacing out from thinking about stupid unrelated crap, but despite all those distractions I was still blown away by how well Sondre performs (perfectly, it seems) and …

…Okay, I don’t remember much else because the concert was a few nights ago and I have the memory of a fish. A stupid fish.

Other reviews:

* “The Modern Age”:http://www.themodernage.org/2006/04/06/the-night-of-unexpected-crooning/
* “The Music Slut”:http://musicslut.blogspot.com/2006/04/sondre-lerche-bowery-150-minutes-of.html