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Review: Sondre Lerche, Teen

Teen, sondre lerche, teen band live, sondre lerche live, mim

Sondre Lerche

Teen and Sondre Lerche charmed an audience at Musical Instrument Museum last night. Let me start by saying how beautiful the venue is. It’s intimate and the acoustics and sound in the space are superb. You can hear everything in the theater, which is wonderful and also a bit of an annoyance (when the guy sitting a few rows behind you has a bad case of the sniffles and no tissue).

Teen, sondre lerche, teen band live, sondre lerche live, mim

Teen

The evening began with a performance by all-female band Teen, which currently consists of former Here We Go Magic keyboardist Kristina “Teeny” Lieberson, two of her sisters (Lizzie and Katherine), and bassist Boshra AlSaadi. The group has a nice flow about it — some songs leaned toward a groovy R&B vibe (“Toi Toi Toi“) and others felt more like otherworldly rock ‘n’ roll (“Reconsider“). “Sticky” was a personal favorite because of the harmonies, Lizzie’s keys, and the display of Teeny’s vocal range. Several of the tracks on the set list are on the Teen’s newest album, The Way and the Color, released in April.

Teen, sondre lerche, teen band live, sondre lerche live, mim

Kristina “Teeny” Lieberson of Teen

After a brief wait, the lights dimmed and Sondre Lerche’s drummer Dave Heilman, walked on stage and sat at his drums, which were lit by a spotlight. He began to play and Lerche, bassist Chris Holm and the Lieberson sisters entered the stage shortly thereafter. Without hesitation, the musicians opened the show with “After the Exorcism.” What would follow was, in a word, brilliant. The show lasted for around an hour and a half and consisted of 17 songs, including the two-song encore.

Teen, sondre lerche, teen band live, sondre lerche live, mim

“We are going to play songs from the new album Please,” said Lerche. “Then we’ll go back in time. Pre…” He paused for a moment, trying to find the right word. “Pre…uh.” “Pre-school?” asked Heilman. “Pre-virginity,” quipped Lerche before adding, “Yay! It finally happened.” This lead into the band playing “Crickets,” a song carried by beautiful harmonies, including the back-up vocals of the Teen ladies.

After every song and a round of applause, the room was always dead silent.

“This is an old song I wanted to try out in this room…this room will do the song justice. Let’s see if the song does the room justice,” Lerche said before diving into “You Know So Well” with his band of two. Crisp, clean vox that gave me chills. There is no question that Lerche is a talented musician and even more than that. He was so lighthearted, humorous and conversational with the crowd throughout the evening. I’m certain it made fans feel special and appreciated, as if they were good friends with him. “Go Right Ahead” was song five from the set list and one of my many favorites. The track was elevated by the soundscape of the theater and even Lerche had to admit, “that was a really good performance.”

“This is a song I wrote in 1999,” said Lerche. “Y2K,” Holm chimed in. “Y2K…I was feeling the pressure…Y2K-millennial angst weighed heavy on my shoulders…my weak shoulders.” He went on to joke about the song being some pre-millennial angsty shuffle waltz and Heilman dedicated the song to a ’90’s favorite — “to Joey Lawrence,” he said and “No One’s Gonna Come” started. Lerche displayed some fancy footwork and when he sang out, “you can just call,” the audience was silent, presumably in astonishment. Then, of course, there was the excellent break down toward the end of the song that showcased the drummer’s talent.

The song ended, the lights were lowered and the bassist and drummer left the stage to Lerche. “My hands are shaking,” he sang. “From carrying this torch. From carrying this torch for you. My lips are bleeding from kissing you goodbye, from kissing you goodbye every night.” He stepped away from the mic and moved to the front of the stage to serenade the audience. The wonderful control and power of his voice meant that even away from the amplification, Lerche’s song was loud and present. The audience didn’t make a sound; it was if they were all unconsciously holding their breath. After that performance, it may have seemed like things couldn’t get any better and then…they did. Lerche asked for song requests, noting the too-good-to-pass-up acoustics of the setting. A few people quietly said what they wanted to hear, which led to Lerche playing “Like Lazenby.” He even said, “this is just for you…couldn’t have done this last night in Vegas.” The band came back on stage to help Lerche perform “Sleep on Needles,” another favorite from the night. For “Sentamentalist” and “Lucifer,” Teen returned to the stage. The latter was a highlight, especially because it meant everyone on stage was singing together — a real treat. The closing songs included “Private Caller,” “Two-Way Monologue” and “Legends.”

It’s hard to choose one favorite moment from the evening. Every song had something special about it and was introduced by the sense of humor of Lerche or his bandmates. The trio shares a comradery and musical chemistry that can’t be missed and makes them exciting to watch live. Of course the show ended with applause and even a well-deserved standing ovation. The encore started with “Lucky Guy” and closed with just Lerche and the audience playing “Modern Nature.” He encouraged the crowd to sing along and they sheepishly did. It was a wonderful way to end the special evening. Many lined up after the show to buy merch, and participate in the band’s meet and greet.

“We enjoy your company terribly much. Thank you,” Lerche said shortly before the show came to an end. I think I speak for all of the concertgoers when I say, we enjoyed Lerche’s company terribly much.

Teen, sondre lerche, teen band live, sondre lerche live, mim

Dave Heilman

Teen, sondre lerche, teen band live, sondre lerche live, mim

Chris Holm

Teen, sondre lerche, teen band live, sondre lerche live, mim

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