Vic Theatre – Chicago, IL
November 7, 2009
The first time I ever saw The Sounds live was the first time I had ever heard their music in any capacity. I immediately fell in love with their poignant style, eclectic energy, and distinct sound and style of new wave alternative Swedish pop rock music. Just weeks ago, I found out that The Sounds were once again playing in Chicago and awaited with building anticipation their November 7th show.
More photos of The Sounds after the jump…
Newly released third studio album Crossing The Rubicon (June 2009), brought The Sounds to the United States for an eight week run and last Saturday’s Chicago stop just happened to be the last date on the tour. Appropriately so, the over-enthused crowd began chanting “Sounds, Sounds, Sounds” at least five minutes before the band commenced their final set to be performed in North America for quite awhile. The Sounds have been on tour around the world since March 2009 promoting their most recent release. Playing in front of a not quite 100% sold out (but still totally packed) house at Chicago’s Vic Theatre, the night kicked off with the self-titled track from the group’s new album Crossing The Rubicon. It was a mysterious beginning due to the absence of lead vocalist Maja Ivarsson for the Intro / first song “Crossing the Rubicon.” However, the moment the drop-dead gorgeous pint-sized feisty singer took the stage, the mood was set for a party…and of course, a fun-filled kick-ass rock show!
After the Intro slash title track “Crossing the Rubicon” from the band’s latest record, the crowd was hit with a slew of hits from the group’s first two albums Living in America and Dying to Say This to You. Songs included: “Queen of Apology,” “Seven Days a Week,” and “Hurt You.” Effectively mixed in was the first single from the band’s newest album: “No One Sleeps When I’m Awake.” After the initial explosion of energy, The Sounds brought the mood down a notch for a trio of slower tempo songs: “Midnight Sun,” “Home Is Where Your Heart Is,” and “Night After Night.” The latter of the three had Ivarsson politely asking fans to take out their cell phones and lighters to accompany the petite platinum blonde singer as she illegally (in the city of Chicago) smoked a cigarette and serenaded us with the sweet tune off sophomore album Dying to Say This to You.
The new wave quintet hailing from Sweden picked up the energy once again and kept the mood kickin’ for the rest of the evening with songs such as: “Rock ‘n’ Roll,” “My Lover,” “Beatbox,” and “Painted By Numbers.” After a very democratic vote among spectators in attendance at Saturday night’s musical presentation between “Living In America” and “Ego,” The Sounds finished the night on a high note with the winner: “Ego.” The encore was a three-song set, which kicked off with “Tony The Beat,” which was followed with an invitation from Ivarsson to a insanely muscled fan to come onstage to play cowbell for “Song With A Mission.” Before introducing the last song of the band’s set, Ivarsson asked the crowd, “Chicago, are you happy now?” and then the group launched into their closing number: “Hope You’re Happy Now.” The night’s festivities officially came to an end after Ivarsson stage dived into the crowd for one final moment of body surfing in the U.S.A.
I have never been to a show where the performing artist has been so interactive with their viewing and listening public. The Sounds achieved in their set what a singer/songwriter would want to achieve for an acoustic show in a small venue, but the Swedish fivesome did it their own way. It was as if lead singer and The Sounds frontwoman Maja Ivarsson had taken a rope and lassoed the audience in for an intimate round of story-telling. This chick knows how to work a crowd, strutting or jumping from one side of the stage to the other in her 4-inch stiletto heels, making eye contact, flirting through her gestures, posing for photographers, and connecting with audience members, all of which created moments that will last a lifetime for the fans.
Ivarsson and Co. were in complete control the entire night. At one point during the musical spectacle, keyboardist (and multi-instrumentalist) Jesper Anderberg took a digital point-and-shoot camera from a girl holding court in the front row smashed up against the barricade and snapped photos of his fellow band members while they were performing. What any die hard fan would give for just one of those photographs…
The passion the audience had for this band was both entertaining and inspiring. My favorite part of the performance was catching glimpses of a guy up in a side balcony box on stage right singing every word to every song at the top of his lungs. This was a concert where the fans left the theatre sweating as much as the artists: the sign of an epic show. Would you expect anything less from The Sounds?
Click on thumbnails to enlarge photos:
Written by: Kate Jacobsen and Jennifer Boyer