Sondre Lerche Celebrates Birthday at The Bowery Ballroom

September 6th, 2012

Sondre Lerche – The Bowery Ballroom – September 5, 2012

Last night eclectic performer Sondre Lerche marked the occasion of his 30th birthday with a celebratory show at The Bowery Ballroom, complete with decorative crepe streamers and balloons haphazardly strewn across the stage. The Norwegian-born, Brooklyn-residing musician, who has released a steady stream of albums over the past 10 years (a full third of his life), announced that he would use last night’s show to highlight the full range of his recorded material, including, in his poetic words, “songs that got lost along the way.”

As Lerche and his band wove through his extensive catalog, high-quality songwriting,
keen lyrical dexterity and witty wordplay were consistently present even in the earliest
of material, as displayed in opening number “Dead Passengers” (from his debut album, Faces Down), and proved again and again on later songs, like “Airport Taxi Reception,” “Track You Down,” “Two Way Monologue” and “My Hands Are Shaking.” In fact, Lerche gave the crowd a glimpse of his level of quality control (or perhaps perfectionist tendencies) as he introduced “Boxing Day” and “Counter Spark” by self-deprecatingly critiquing their lyrical construction.

Of course, despite giving us a glance into the seriousness with which he treats his songwriting, Lerche was relaxed and appeared in great spirits throughout his birthday show, grinning as he made the transition from mellow, carefree guitar lines to shredding solos (often within the same song), cracking jokes with his bandmates and tossing balloons into the crowd. By night’s end, Lerche had treated the audience to an excellent sampling of a decade’s worth of music, and to show their appreciation, the crowd serenaded him with versions of “Happy Birthday” in English and Norwegian, at which point the prolific musician appeared at a rare loss for words: genuinely flattered and sweetly flustered. —Alena Kastin

Photos courtesy of Mike Benigno |