Wait For My Prince
Used To Be Afraid
opening for Sondre Lerche.
R E V I E W S:
It was in 2002 i think that i first heard Leona Naess live. it was a rainy October night but there was still a good showing of people. The Bowery Ballroom is on Delancy, go figure. You walk down stairs into the lounge, only to walk up the back stairs to the main room which has a stage set above the floor as it should be. If you look up there is this great wrap-around balcony along the other three walls, and if you further explore, you’ll find tables, two private seating areas, and a small bar on the 3rd level.
I had brought a bunch of friends- some had heard her cd and liked it, others had never heard of her but were up for a fun night out. I remember this because, no matter the expectation, we were all floored. They couldn’t
get over how good she was live, how beautiful her voice was, and herself. I’m glad i had first heard her on a soundtrack and been impressed with her artistry and not just won over by her persona and looks. Though they all go hand-in-hand.
Last night was the first time back since that show i think, and the dim lighting, heavy curtains, dark wood floors and creaky steps created that same mellow feel. My friends and i pondered how often you probably are sharing space with the same people- how many people you see daily and dont know or notice, and how the crowd seemed vaguely familiar, though i did not know anyone by name.
Leona was orbiting between the musicians’ private room, the main floor and the balcony and seemed in very good spirits. They went on a little after 9. And it was fabulous. The sound was great. Sometimes i felt like the instruments were a little too loud, like the microphones were a little too close. But the playing was superb as usual, with the wonderful Julia Kent on cello and (i’m very sorry, not sure on this name) Aiden Bent on all the percussion. She seemed to play and improv with the songs a little more than usual, having fun varying the vocals.
Everything sounded so clear. I love the intimacy of the Living Room, but it was great hearing her in a larger space where the sounds could reverberate off the walls and surround the crowds above and below. I dont know if it was their moods, the tempo and instrumentation, or having a bigger “rock” scene, but there was an extra energy to the entire set. I think having a larger space did her voice and the instrumentation justice. If people were quiet enough, her music could fill a stadium.
So here’s the setlist n banter. Again, not sure if these are the official titles.
-He Has Gone
someone (i presume one of you) yells out, “we miss you!” to which she says, “i was only gone two weeks” then, half to herself, “i keep saying i’m moving and i cant get the fuck out”
-I Wait for My Prince
-(Heavy) Like Sunday
someone requested Ballerina, to which she replied about needing a piano and continued to banter, asking if someone brought one, had one in their pocket… she seemed to be in a great mood and amusing herself. haha.
-On My Mind
-Leave Your Boyfriends (if someone could please clarify this song’s title and if she wrote it or it’s a cover… thanks! rima?)
-Don’t Use My Broken Heart
-Comatised (SO good)
I’d like to dedicate this next one to Aiden’s mother who passed this morning. “to Margaret” to which she played
-Used to be Afraid (definitely one of my favorites)
Then she thanked the Ballroom and the crowd and they setup for Sondre.
Sondre Lerche is supposed to be very talented, but we gave in to the corporate schedule and decided to head home. We didn’t need anything else; our night was complete. To think between we nyc’ers having been lucky enough to hear her multiple times, and with her wide selection of songs, I can recognize songs that have yet to be recorded or released. I find myself humming them or with lyrics stuck in my head days later- to me, that’s the sign of something well done. Looking forward to the 27th. Hope she tours elsewhere soon so you can hear her live yourself!