The Soundtrack of Our Lives

March 13th, 2009
(Photograph by Fredrik Wennerlund)

(Photograph by Fredrik Wennerlund)

Ebbot Lundberg is a natural born rock-and-roller, and he has never met a room, big or small, he couldn’t fill. Thursday night at The Bowery Ballroom, the burly, bearded Swede, attired in his trademark black caftan and scarf, led his five-piece band through a tight 90-minute set that leaned heavily on the band’s excellent new double album, Communion. Back in 2001, Soundtrack seemed poised for major U.S. stardom with the catchy pop-rock anthem “Sister Surround” and a surprise Grammy nomination. The new record goes for a deeper and ultimately more satisfying exploration of classic 1960s rock genres. But one thing that hasn’t changed is the band’s aggressive, thoroughly entertaining live show.

It would be hard to steal a stage from Lundberg—it’d be foolish to even try, really—but guitarist Mattias Bärjed gave him a run for his money, as he always does. Dressed in a gaudy red satin shirt and matching jeans, Bärjed scissor-kicked around the stage and very nearly beheaded Lundberg with wild guitar slinging. He also won major style points for a thick mustache that looked as if it had been ripped straight off the face of cheesy ’80s icon John Oates. The band ended the main set with a version of “Sister Surround” that had the crowd pumping its fists in the air, and then came back for the lovely new acoustic number “The Passover,” which sent people out into the night with a simple, inspirational message that seemed to sink in: “Don’t worry, stop hurry / Get on with your life, it’s not too late.” —Joey Pisarcik