Little wonderful singing angels like Sondre Lerche make us wish we were in the Boy Scouts, figuring out complicated knots, building campfires, or earning merit badges alongside strapping young pre-teens. Last night at Irving Plaza, Sondre was obscenely adorable. He continued his long-standing tradition of ridiculous stage banter that only a mother, a teenage girl, and a gay male could love.
If Pele from the Hives derives his charm from being “loud shouty foreign guy”, Sondre derives his charm from being “quiet sensitive shy cuddly foreign guy.” Just look at his picture! He’s so incredible cute in that puppy dog kind of way. He takes us back to grade-school crushes–so simple and pure. Sondre is refreshingly wholesome in looks. He’s the boy next door (if next door was Norway) that you dreamed of holding hands with, going to the corner store with, eating ice cream cones with. A baby face, a sweet boyish tenor voice, infectiously enthusiastic and earnest (sometimes he teeters on the fine line between impossible charming and horrendously annoying, but again, the foreign cute guy thing saves him). You’d totally take him home to mom.
At the Sondre show we just wanted to be 12 and at summer camp, running around falling in love and getting our heart broken. We could almost taste the salt of the tender tears of young love gone array. Oh it was so totally beautiful in that pre-teen drama kind of way. It’s like when you watch My Girl 2 and Austin O’Brien’s character kisses whatsherface, Anna Chumpsly or whatever her name is, at the airport. Sheer juvenile bliss!
At the concert last night, we were literally surrounded by 16 year-old-girls who would look up at Sondre like their little hearts were connected with his. “He’s the boy I’m going to marry,” their wide eyes seemed to say, “he just doesn’t know it yet!” We felt like we were living through a Judy Blume novel or something.
There’s this quote from Rufus Wainwright where he says something to the effect of that at his shows, his young teenage female fans are like little ewoks. They just surround him and want to cuddle up against him, and they’re so excited and loving. It’s kinda like that at a Sondre show, but since Sondre isn’t gay, there’s more than just platonic energy in the air. It’s the sweet smell of muskrat love!
Now we realize at this point, you’re probably sick of hearing about some fey skinny little bobble-headed man child, but we can’t help but feel gushy and gooey inside. As much as we love all the hip shit that “scenesters” are supposed to like, it’s really this kind of retarded, saccharin stuff that we truly truly love.
To extend our current tangent onto another one, we’d like to point out that in our book, the White Stripes fall into the same musical vibe of Sondre Lerche. We know that’s almost a complete crock of shit in some respects, but when you think about it, both Sondre and the White Stripes have that pure, child-like quality to them. Ok, so Jack White isn’t exactly as holy as the Virgin Mary, but he tries to give off that gentlemanly exterior when he’s doing his shows, and even in interviews. Remember how during the Roseland show Jack got into a tizzy over “frat dudes” acting like jerks, by slamming into much younger, much smaller kids at the all-ages show?
Of course Jack’s just playing it up, but you have to realize that Sondre is also playing up his own image–the sweet little boy niche he’s carved out for himself. Like how he always pretends he doesn’t know English (ED NOTE: Ok, he might not actually be all that fantastic at English), or how he rambles on and on without any sort of coherency. For example, last night he commented on how sweaty he was, so of course, an excited teenage girl shouts from the middle of the audience, “Take off your jacket!”–to which a whole lot of the young ladies at the show start whooping and cheering at. They joined in, bashfully trying to coax their dear Sondre into revealing even the slightest amount of skin to fuel the bliss-filled dreams they would have later that night.
He played along with the innocent courtship, shyly replying with words similar to these, “There will be no jacket removal. It would only lead to more…,” he furrowed his brow in the slightest bit, he looked to his bandmates, “…what’s the word? ” His bandmates good-naturedly shrugged in ignorance. Girls from the crowd offered word suggestions. But Sondre dismissed all of them. “No no…oh I don’t know what word it is. But I’ll think about it, and get back to you later.” The eager teens giggled with school-girl crush delight. Sondre gave a playful smirk. Oh it was so cute we just wanted to puke all over ourselves like a Care Bare with a binge-drinking problem.
After he finished the song and the applause had settled, he revealed to the audience that he had finally thought of the word. “I know what the word is,” he announced with glee, “it is…humiliation.” The girls exchanged “ohmygod isn’t that just the cutest, most charming thing ever?” looks to each other and the sound of “awww!” was cooed through the venue. We could make out the sounds of muffled, smitten laughter dancing between the amused condolences the audience offered Sondre, their gorgeous little self-deprecating songbird.
It was simply too perfect. Amazing and brilliant in the fact that everyone was playing their role to a “T”. There was shy little bashful Sondre, standing up on the stage, a room full of adoring, encouraging crowd of young girls literally at his feet, hanging on to every little word he uttered. If there ever was a time we wished we could be 16 again, it was then!
Toward the end of the show he announced that he’d be signing autographs by his merchandise table later on. As we headed out of the venue, we passed a long line of fresh-faced teens clutching their wallets and calling their moms to tell them they’d be staying out just a little bit later. They seemed to be bubbling over with anticipation, giving off a super-amplified dose of teen spirit.
As we walked by the last girl on the line, we fought the urge to take a place on the single-file formation. We wanted to remember what it was like to not know any better, to make a fool of ourselves, to harbor deep feelings for dreamy boys beyond our reach.
But of course the more sensible side got the best of us, and we did as any self-respecting, hip, urban 20-something should do after seeing Sondre Lerche–turn up your nose and get the fuck out of the there before anyone figures out that you’re still just a big fat sissy schoolgirl inside.
ED NOTE: We also do have to mention that it was so awesome seeing Sondre play with the full band. It was as punk rock as Sondre Lerche gets. Rock-jam versions of “Two Way Monologue” and he did [insert name of song here], a song that didn’t make it on to the second album. That was total radness too.