Ramblings of a Redhead Music Snob

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Posts Tagged ‘Norway’

Sondre Lerche Brings Pleasure to the Independent

Posted by xneverwherex on May 21, 2017

Sondre Lerche
Dedekind Cut
Independent
May 2, 2017

Sondre Lerche brought a dance party, as well as his charm, to the Independent on Tuesday. The Norwegian-born, Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter is currently out on tour for Pleasure, a companion piece to 2014’s Please. He emphasized the pleasure, ready for a dance party and to let loose.

Lerche entered the stage dancing to an ’80s synth intro and kicked right into the dance-heavy

Sondre Lerche

Sondre Lerche

Soft Feelings,” the first song off his new album. He stayed in constant motion from that point on. Pure indie dance pop track “Bad Law” had Lerche dancing up a storm along with the audience. Later on, Lerche performed “I’m Always Watching You” solo, with only his guitar as accompaniment. He didn’t even sing into his microphone, creating one of the most intimately touching moments of the show. It was so quiet during the song that every note rang out emphatically. Lerche’s soft vocal delivery was beautiful.

As a songwriter, Lerche has a knack for love as well heartbreak. As he sang “Legends,” his heartbreak was palpable: “Please disregard/ My endless hope/ It just paved the way/ For the end of our rope.” Without missing a beat, Lerche’s band—drummer David Heilman, bassist Jordan Brooks and keyboardist Alan James Markley followed up the lonely number with guitar-driven, crowd-pleaser “Phantom Punch.”

“Let’s revisit sins from the past,” Sondre said, introducing earlier material. He performed “No One’s Gonna Come” from his debut, Faces Down. With its jazzy guitars, the song had Lerche crooning like Burt Bacharach. The song continued to build, eventually incorporating a gaggle of thrashing guitars and an emotional punch. Like no other, Lerche segued into a slow jam. Talking about the weather, he threatened to take off his shirt, which had both men and women erupting in joy, (and later followed through). He then bent down and serenaded women at the front of the stage during “Minor Detail.” To say that it didn’t make my day would have been an understatement. It felt like it was just for me at that moment.

Sondre Lerche

Sondre Lerche

The beautiful soaring harmonies of Markley, Heilman and Lerche on “Two Way Monologue” made it seem like the three had been performing for years. In truth, this tour almost didn’t happen after two of his original bandmates were denied entry into the country (thanks Trump, really) and Brooks and Markley were last-minute replacements.

The band concluded the concert with a 15-minute rave/dance party. As the drums kicked in, and a techno beat kicked in, Lerche hopped onto the floor and formed a dance pit with concertgoers. His arms in the air and sweat dripping down, he implored everyone to let loose with reckless abandon.

New York experimental artist Fred Welton Warmsley, performing as Dedekind Cut, opened up the concert and took early arrivers down a rabbit hole into sonic exploration. Without notice, he would shift from thumping bass filled with feedback and reverb to a dark and moody mix. There was no time to acclimate with styles. As soon as it felt like there was a recognizable dance rhythm, it would morph into another genre with overlaid heavy tribal percussion. The way he played with samples and used sound to create unique mixes was amazing.

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Posted in Adventures in the Big City, Live Music, Random Ramblings, San Francisco | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Team Me FTW

Posted by xneverwherex on March 24, 2014

Friday March 14
SXSW
Austin, Texas

Friday began with a plan. Too bad I cant read schedules and the Friday schedule I wanted to see was really happening on Saturday. I ended up catching the tail end of Neulore and I really enjoyed their sound. I was bummed I didnt catch more of their set, but I was intrigued and will catch them some other time.

Team Me

Team Me

Then it was off to Maggie Mae’s which was PACKED!! The first band The Soil & The Sun which had a folk-rock sound were quite good, but the sound was so bad it really didnt help. I lasted about 20 mins before taking off to (hopefully) catch Jungle. On the way – I met some guys who were working for Vans/Mohawk (should have taken advantage of it) at some random stage. We were all yelling at the band to figure out who they were. The 2 people on the stage rocked — really great voice, really amazing guitars, the female had some kick ass moves. After a bit of yelling, we found out they were called Schisms. Finally it was off to Vans – Mohawk. I arrived to find a line down the block, up a hill, around a corner (and that included badge holders). So again – I would have to miss Jungle and a bunch of other bands. Story of my life with a lot of the day showcases.

So it was back to the beginning (ie Maggie Maes) — with a quick stop to listen to a really great indie/70s band who had some great songs. The band was so catchy and their sound filled the air. Really punchy guitars, soaring vocals — the band was Temples. OMG. They sounded even better than when I saw them and they were playing even catchier songs. I was standing outside Stubbs — which was impossible to get into (I think Lady Gaga or someone else of that caliber would be there). It worked for me, Stubbs sounds way better outside.

So then I just wandered 6th street and started hearing really great bands. Some guys invited me into a showcase at Trinity Hall (Old School Bar) and damn — it was quite the showcase. I couldnt see everyone, but I wished I could have. I was able to catch another set from Terraplane Sun — still sounding as excellent as before. Same catchy songs – but the guys seemed a little subdued (perhaps the crowd). Music was still as awesome as ever and a few of us were dancing.

Hey Moonshaker

Hey Moonshaker

Then was able to catch about 20 mins of Hey Moonshaker. I wished I had seen longer because these guys were great. The 2 guys had a brotherly love for each other and they talked so nicely about each other. One of them had mad skills with his beatboxing. He had the entire small bar on their feet, making a circle around him. The other guy was great on guitar adding a blues sound to it all. The blend was smooth and they were exciting to watch. 20 mins was way too short and I knew that I needed more.

The next band I had heard so many good things about I was beyond excited for. Although it was back to Maggie Mae’s and that I was worried about. The place was packed (even moreso), but I was somehow able to squeeze in towards the front. I was beyond glad that I did. The band was Team Me from Norway. I had met one of the guys in the band earlier in the day and he was cheerful and friendly. The band had to be the cutest bunch of kids with the young guys in headbands dancing around. The whole band seemed to always be dancing — while playing the keyboards, guitars whatever. They were the HAPPIEST band ever! They also played the cheeriest, sunniest pop music ever!! It was impossible not to enjoy the set and everyone was dancing and clapping. The band ended the set with bringing their instruments and mics into the crowd and singing from deep inside the center of the crowd. Others were playing their instruments, singing with them. It was just pure fun and it couldnt have been a better set!

Mumiy Troll

Mumiy Troll

So I was off — a really great band — what would be next. Mumiy Troll from Russia. The band was quite possibly the best band ive seen here. Funk meets glam with rock. Lead singer Ilya is awesome. He works the stage wearing his black jeans covered with a hula grass skirt. He danced around, played the keyboards, he worked it up a storm. The band entertained and were easily one of the best I had seen.

After that — while I probably could have found more great bands, I opted to check out Gruff’s film ‘American Interior’. I love everything about him and loved the film no less – which retraces the fantastical adventure of his 18th Century relative, the Welsh explorer John Evans. The people Gruff encounters along the way are pretty cool and is a nice look at the other parts of America. Its worth seeing if youre at all interested in history or just love Gruff.

From Wales it was off to Scotland to see the lovely ladies of the Cairn String Quartet. The 4some were quite magical with 3 of them playing violin and the lone cellist. The band performed current beats to classical pieces and just sounded lovely. They had some great song choices with one of Lorde’s song which was easily recognizable and also played from some Scottish artists. They really had a complete range of styles and the crowd just loved them. They ended the set by playing a song from one of the more popular Scottish bands – Franz Ferdinand – and had an awesome rendition of ‘Take Me Out’. The women seemed so excited to be playing and informed us their next set would be very different as they change it up depending on the venue. I would love to see them again sometime and hopefully they will be doing a full tour.

FMLYBND, from Isla Vista (home of UCSB), is a band I was beyond excited to see. Im pretty local to my SB bands and so much wanted to like them. The club was one of those places Id never be caught dead in – offering shots to those on the street and just seemed the total club to be seen. The band, had some major issues, and couldnt seem to get their instruments set up. It took about 40 mins (almost their entire set) before they were even read to play. By that time, their set should have been over. I caught 2 songs and the band sadly just seemed so much more interested in themselves than actually playing anything remotely good. It was somewhat dance-y with lots of guitars and keyboards, but overall just forgettable.

Mas Ysa

Mas Ysa

The only thing that I was happy about, is that I left when I did. I had really been wanting to check out Mas Ysa from Montreal. He is a one-man show blending different styles – folk meets electronic meets love songs. Its a bit melancholy, yet watching him play and manipulate the instruments is far from that. He takes you on a journey with his music and you just get lost in it. He was that good and sounded even better in the church. So of course, I stayed for another artist – Forest Swords from the UK. The band is a twosome with one guy playing guitar and the other one on keyboards. It works well in a very experimental avant-garde style. The music is at times quite heavy but it lifts you at the same time. I didnt last their entire set (was getting sick) but enjoyed them very much.

I also managed to catch some of EMA‘s music – the lead singer was battling being sick so it was a short set and she was losing her voice. The band sounded great. Saturday – which was a bust – I did manage to catch Tumbleweed Wanderers from Oakland — which was an alt country/folky band – not what I was expecting but good and saw another performance from Mother Falcon – even better than when I had previously seen them. Just loving that band.

Overall, SXSW was a huge success. Despite my day being totally ruined on Saturday/Sunday – I got to see a fair number of bands – saw bands I would have never seen (Mumiy Troll from Russia) and saw some other bands that I might never be able to see. This is definitely a festival I will have to do again, but definitely takes a toll on the body.

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Best of the Rest @ CMJ

Posted by xneverwherex on October 25, 2011

10/21/11 & 10/22/11

Friday and Saturday moved so quickly and so late that I barely had a chance to recover. Even tho the nights werent insanely late, the subways always made it that much more fun.

The best set of the festival – hands down – nothing came even remotely close – was Casiokidsfrom Norway (I actually thought Swedes, but alas theyre Norwegian). Casiokids were fun and creative and did I say fun. Their synth-pop/electronic sound was fresh sounding and it always felt like they were creating music on the fly.

Casiokids

Who knows if they were – but it all seemed so original. I loved the fluidity of the band members as they all rotated on instruments from guitars to keyboards to drums. Well the drummer was usually one guy, but lots of percussion was always added – often times in the way of fruits. Shaking pineapples and red peppers. I think there was a cucumber too. The band had everyone clapping and dancing and just having a great time. It was a pity the set had to end as it should have gone on for at least another hour.

Thanks to Spike Hill for having one of the best showcases and free too! Its hard to go wrong with that. The UK had some great bands around too. Its pretty hard to go wrong with bands from across the pond (as a generalization – not a rule). Jonquil, from the hometown of Radiohead, err Oxford, were a catchy 4 piece. They have a great indie pop sound with infectious hooks and catchy melodies. Their music has a sound that is quite reminiscent of Vampire Weekend. For great britpop, this band is definitely the way to go. The guys were cute and talkative and I could see them getting quite big.

Jonquil

The BMI/MCT showcase over at Bowery Electric also had some great bands. The day started off early with Tall Shipsfrom Brighton. These 3 guys certainly can make a lot of sound. Comprising of heavy guitars and drums with minimal

Tall Ships

vocals they were a surprise that I couldnt get enough of. I really liked the set with the drummer grabbing part of the drum set and sitting in the middle of the floor. He was then joined by the bassist who went towards the back and the singer who joined in. It was so impromptu and spur of the moment. They all then had one hell of a session with drums culminating in a spastic fun set.

And with all things UK – it would be hard to omit the lovely boredish lads of Viva Brother. They ended up being a surprise guest and they never seem to disappont live. Their music is energetic and has the feel of the 90s britpop bands. Unfortunately, the band just didnt seem as into it. The drummer seemed pissed, the guitars were somehow not on the stage but in the front of the stage in the audience. Their poor tech had to go back and forth giving people instruments. Im not sure if their set didnt play out as well due to a lack of sound checks. Their music is still damn great tho, so no matter how they looked on stage it was hard not to enjoy it. A bit sad that it was so short, but hell it was free and one awesome surprise.

Washington (state) had a great band in Beat Connection. Continuing in a similar sound to Best Coast the band comes off as tropical and fun. With never ending sound problems plaguing their set, they laughed about it and continued as best as they could. Their music is catchy and has a lo-fi electronic sound to it. I loved the use of their colored neon lights surrounding the keyboards that would alternate in colors. Most of their songs were sampled with lots of keyboards and drums but the vocals that were used (Id imagine their own) sound really great. ‘In The Water’ makes you feel like youre

Beat Connection

sitting out on a beach and just in your own place grooving out. Its gotta be the catchiest song out there right now. I could listen to them over and over.

Billy McCarthy has since moved on from Pela (very sad!) to form We Are Augustines. I had wondered why this band kept emailing me new things, but that explained it all. I really didnt pay that much attention and had liked their stuff but seeing them live solidified it all. Rock music at its finest and a band that loves to play for fans. What more could anyone want. When told they had one last song, Billy went with a 10 minute jam that was purely awesome. Lots of guitars and rocking out they were easily a favorite of the night.

Bands that left a lot to be desired: Fallulah from Denmark. Im not sure which was worse the Yeah Yeah Yeahs cover in which she stated they were her favorite band. Or the fact that maybe she wanted to be Karen O. Im not entirely sure, but I found them pretty unbearable. The band itself was interesting but her as a front woman made me cringe. Chrome Sparks, from Michigan and California, just seemed a bit young and odd. Their music sounded ok, but the woman singing just seemed bored and not really into the show. And their music was a tad bit boring. Enough to stand around for 20 minutes, but thankfully it wasnt longer than that. Ambassadors, who I appreciated a bit more knowing their keyboard player was blind, had some great songs. Overall, I find their music hit and miss. Some stuff is incredibly catchy while others just dont seem to go with the sound.

Savoir Adore is already a pretty big name here and they never disappoint. One of the last bands of the day they were a fun set with catchy songs and toe tapping and just leave you feeling in great spirits. Its hard to ever go wrong with them. The guy/girl vocals always work so well and a few mess-ups and laughter ensued.

All in all, maybe Im getting more selective with what I go see, but for the most part there were some great bands that really stood out. CMJ was yet another success!

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