If there was a word to describe Norwegian singer-songwriter Sondre Lerche‘s recent set at The Crocodile, it would be — unexpected. Maybe “delightful,” “raucous,” “charming”… we could go on and on about how wonderful he was, and those who were packed in next to us on that night would probably agree whole-heartedly.
First, there was the build up to the show. Sondre has been making music for a long time — with records dating back to 2001 — even though he’s only 30. In order to make this tour special, he asked fans to post in advance which songs they wanted to hear. What a novel idea! We are so used to seeing musicians tour on their newest album and play the entirety of that album — leaving little room for old favorites, covers and works in progress. Sondre played all three. In his Facebook event, he told fans that if they posted what they wanted to hear, he’d play the five most requested songs… And then he did!
I was tickled magenta when he played my favorite, “Suffused With Love,” from his 2002 release Faces Down. He made songs from his new album Bootlegs special by singing them in unexpected ways. On “My Hands Are Shaking”, before he sang the song, Sondre said “You guys are really close and I want to get closer. Sometimes this works, and sometimes I fall on my ass, which is sometimes more entertaining.” Then he played the song unplugged, with the crowd singing along at the chorus. In true Sondre style, it was not at all cheesy. He has a way of making everything seem improvised and charming, no matter how many times we may have seen the same antics attempted by less earnest performers.
If someone had asked me before the show about what kind of music he plays, I would have told them it’s kind of like Jens Lekman and a little Magnetic Fields-y. Meaning, it sounds like cerebral lyrics and sometimes the melody feels more like background support. After the show, I’d say my perspective changed; he lacks the willful inaccessibility of Stephin Merritt. Another surprise was that he freaking rocked.
A lot of the loud, raucousness of his set was thanks to the backing efforts of opening band Fancy Colors, which provided drums, horns, flutes, and bass (there were only two guys but the bass player was a jack-of-all-trades type). Although the drummer talked a lot (WAY too much), he was excellent at hitting things with sticks; he and Sondre rocked out magnificently together.
Among the cuter moments was when Sondre reminisced about a previous performance at The Crocodile, saying “This takes me back to the time I played The Crocodile and had to stand out on the street after because I wasn’t old enough to be at my own show.” It’s that honesty and self-effacing humor that makes a crowd feel comfortable and close; this crowd was both of those things and oh so charmed by Sondre Lerche’s boyish smile.
A lovely moment showing off Sondre’s very obvious love of his fans was when a blonde female in the back of the room yelled loudly (and repeatedly) for him to play “Domino,” when he was going to play something else. He bashfully complied and continued to give the crowd love. When he came out for his encore, he said “I was secretly hoping this would happen” and it was obvious he meant it.
Check out Natalie’s gorgeous shots below and pretend you were there with us.