All words: Kaitie Kovach — All photos: Ryan Kelly
Sondre Lerche’s show at the 9:30 Club Friday night was a dream come true for longtime fans. At 30, the Norwegian singer-songwriter’s career already spans more than a decade. During that time he’s flirted with several genres – from pop to rock and even jazz – and created a lush catalog that has aged exceptionally well.
Friday’s set, where Lerche was backed up by members of the opening act, Fancy Colors, came almost exclusively from his early albums (to the joy of many a fangirl in the audience), drawing heavily from his 2002 debut Faces Down, 2004’s Two Way Monologue and 2006’s Duper Sessions. Lerche told the audience this was by design, since he’s re-releasing his first four albums on vinyl next month.
He also said he wished he could play all of his albums, but couldn’t because there are so many. “You can try,” somebody in the back of the room called out. He didn’t quite play everything, but Lerche did manage a well-selected cross-section of his work. He offered old hits like “Two Way Monologue,” “Say It All,” and “Sleep On Needles” and deeper cuts – such as “Counter Spark,” which he said he hadn’t played live in 10 years and “Boxing Day,” a song that he said was cut from both Two Way Monologue and Phantom Punch.
Lerche’s performance was charming and exuberant. He backs up his songwriting and endearing banter with energetic guitar playing (he’s not afraid to take his songs in a heavier direction than as they might appear on an album). The room seemed to swoon with each toss of his hair, and when he sang an off-mic acoustic rendition of “My Hands Are Shaking,” the audience hung on every syllable. The set ended with the crescendo of “Sleep On Needles.” And as if Lerche couldn’t resist eliciting one more swoon from the crowd, the sweet “You Sure Look Swell” served as the single encore song.