Photo courtesy of Mike Benigno
In between the curtains of The Bowery Ballroom, the stage was littered with streamers and balloons. It was Sondre Lerche's birthday. The semi-James Dean-looking artist (denim shirt, denim pants) came out like ball of Norwegian energy, starting with his jazzy-then-ecstatic "Dead Passengers" from his first album. Lerche promised that the show would span his ten years as an artist, that he was gonna bust out some tracks that got lost along the way. And then the show turned into a sort of VH1 Storytellers, with Lerche and his band cracking jokes in between songs, and explaining songs before playing them. Lerche even criticized his song "Counter Spark," calling it lazy -- the chorus is all "ba ba bas" after all. It seemed like Lerche didn't want his birthday show to end, adding songs to an already long and career-spanning setlist.
The best thing about Sondre Lerche live though was seeing how quickly he can go from jazzy precision to White Stripe-ish destruction -- listening to his albums just doesn't justify his shred-ability. At times, it seemed like he was Marty McFly and we were the agasp 1950s teens. Getting an acoustic, mic-less version of "My Hands Are Shaking" was also pretty great. Oh, the intimacy! Seriously though, it was pretty striking. The fans showed their appreciation two-fold, singing him the Norwegian birthday song and then later the English "Happy Birthday," which prompted the best joke of the night -- Lerche yelling out, "This is some Olive Garden shit!" Ahh, the perfect end to any night.