Sondre Lerche @ the Musical Instrument Museum| 9/25/12
"Ever since I saw Psycho, I've wanted to come to Phoenix." That's how Sondre Lerche introduced himself to Phoenix last night at the Musical Instument Museum, and in a time of SB1070 band boycotts, it's pretty refreshing for a musician to reference Hitchcock instead of Arpaio.
Lerche has never performed in Arizona, unfortunately, and for many long-time fans, watching tour after tour pass our little desert by became a real bummer. Luckily, he more than made up for his absence by assembling a line-up of fan-requested (via a Facebook event) tunes.
Sometimes over this tour it has come to bite him in his adorable Norwegian butt, like when he softly exclaimed "fuck" during a pause in "Minor Detail." But those moments are perfect for him to pitch his new songbook, which he says would be and ideal fix for him in such circumstances if he only knew how to read music. However, he did take the opportunity to test it on his bassist by having him play along to a song he hadn't played before.
Musically, Sondre Lerche is insanely talented. Album after album has been full of jazzy pop gems and he replicates them on stage beautifully. He can jam out like the best prog rockers, like he did on "Phantom Punch." Lerche's voice is just slightly grizzled, but mostly sweet. His singing style pretty much defines crooning. He's so iconic in his own, as he describes it, "obscure Norwegian singer-songwriter" way that he's recently been put on a postage stamp in his own country. All that aside, it's really hard to talk about Lerche without mentioning his effect on the female audience.
He's the kind of guy that describes a song by saying, "There was a period in my life--well hopefully it's for the rest of my life--that I was lovesick."
He's the kind of guy that, as his bandmates walk off stage to have him play a few solo songs, says, "Now I wanna have some alone time with you," and literally every girl in the audience giggles like a twelve year old.
He's also the kind of guy that finishes a set by saying, "We've gotta make the most of our time together because it's been a long time coming and it's almost over." To which the audience groans a resounding "nooooooooo."
Basically, he sang their feelings for him best in "Counter Spark," in a chorus he said feels rushed and lazy to him now:
"I chose you from a million You were the choice of billions wishing they would try to be like you But I'd rather fall in love with you"
Still sounds pretty good to me.
Last Night: Sondre Lerche at the Musical Instrument Museum
Personal Bias: There's pretty much no way I wouldn't like this show. I've been a fan for over six years and I drove to Santa Barbara to see him once a few years ago. Plus he's charming and Scandinavian.
The Crowd: An odd, but passionate, mix of young hipsters and 50- somethings that I imagine regularly contribute to KJZZ.
Highlight of the Night: When a decent portion of the crowd discarded their unusually comfortable theatre-style seats during "Two Way Monologue" and "boogied" as Lerche requested about four songs earlier.
Most Awkward Thing a Woman Yelled at Lerche: "If you leave Phoenix you're going to die." Granted, it was in reference to his "Psycho" comment earlier about how Vera Miles' character was fine until she left our city. Definitely not the "I love you's" he's used to...
Not VH1 Storytellers friendly Story: Lerche admitted he doesn't like playing "Stupid Memory," one of the audience requests, because an old tour manager once told him it sounded like he was singing "stupid mammary." Yikes!
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.