I have a confession – I love Sondre Lerche. Not his music. Him.
Okay, don’t get me wrong, I think his music is great. I’m especially fond of his album with the Faces Down Quartet. Good stuff, there. But no, the affection I feel for his music is nothing compared to the extremely fond feeling for the actual dude. He’s darling. I have a deeply held belief that when whatever higher-up created him, they used the leftover parts they had from creating puppies and marshmallows. And I want to eat him up with a spoon.
If it makes anyone feel better, it’s got nothing to do with wanting to do the horizontal tango, or anything. I mean, is he super-dee-duper cute? Clearly. But no, the affection I feel for him makes me feel like I have a very fuzzy kitten curled up in my belly, and it is purring, only instead of just making a noise, the kitten is emitting rainbows. I would like to perhaps bake him cookies. Or knit him a sweater. Or tuck him in at night. Never mind that he’s seven years older than me and I suck at knitting. I can’t control my urges, only what I do about them. But these urges were relatively controlable.
And then… I went to see him in concert last night.
As a full disclaimer, I would like to say I behaved very well. I even met him briefly and I was very chill about the entire thing. And instead of baking him cookies, I went home and ate some. So there, urges!
To be honest, I wasn’t even planning on going to the concert. I’ve never been to a concert where you had to be above a certain age to get in, and I’d certainly never been to a concert alone. To go to the concert, I was going to have to do both. I don’t even like concerts. They’re loud and you can’t usually see anything and there are large crowds of people and I’m a very small person. That’s like all of my least favorite things, combined. So no thank you, concert.
Then the night before, I was sitting at home, depressed. I’m not really sure why I was depressed. I know I was depressed because I hadn’t done anything with myself that day. The real question is, why the hell it bothered me so much. It was a Saturday night, for chrissakes. I had a very productive week and had no reason to be depressed, except that I was. And I knew it was bad because I was cookie self-medicating. (Cookies are a theme in this story. Go with it.)
So there I was, stuffing my face with chocolate chip cookies I in no way should have been stuffing my face with, when some Sondre song came on my iTunes shuffle. I have no idea which one it was, but it came on, and something in my heart just broke at the thought of missing this opportunity. Self, I thought, that dude lives in Norway. He probably only tours the US every few years when he releases an album. Why are you being such a lameass? Go buy yourself a ticket and stop whining. Lameass.
I have to say, that was up there on the top ten greatest self-talks I have ever had. Because I had an excellent time. The concert was at the Paradise Rock Club, which is a really nice venue. It’s intimate, but they don’t over-sell so it’s not super crowded. They keep the temperature monitored so the body heat doesn’t make it like a furnace. They keep the volume at a level where it doesn’t pain you to listen to it and, when the music stops, your ears don’t know what to do with themselves and just buzz with the silence. And there was no one creepy there. To be safe, I brought my Swiss Army Knife. I’m not sure why I felt I needed this, since there were lots of very nice staffers and other patrons there, and I had my cell phone so I could call the authorities if all else failed. Plus, usually rapists or murderers or the Hell’s Angels aren’t fun of twee indie-folk-pop singer-songwriters. But the same way some people bring around cans of pepper spray in their purses, I bring my little buddy, Mr. Swiss Army Knife. I don’t trust myself with pepper spray. I can’t open those pump-top bottles that you have to twist to use. Knowing me, I’d probably spray myself or a nearby squirrel. And I was delighted to find that I didn’t even feel the need to think about it, sitting safely in a zipped pocket of my bag! Not once!
And then there was the music. Oh, the music.
First of all, major kudos go to the opening act, JBM. I really loved him. He was, like, somewhere between José González and Iron & Wine. Bon Iver without his vocoder, even. All-around pretty awesome. I plan on getting his album just as soon as I can convince myself that it’s okay to, you know, spend some money on something. This means I may never get the album, but I’m thinking about it, gosh darnit. It’s a process.
But no one does a show like Sondre does. For one thing, photos do not do him justice. I would go so far as to say he is unphotogenic, he’s that much cuter in person. I don’t know how he manages, maybe it’s seeing the tongue sticking out and dancing in place during guitar solos and his hair becomming increasingly ridiculous the more he tries to push it out of his face. Whatever it is, it’s magic. He’s got almost no accent, which I also found pretty surprising, but I suppose that’s a side-effect of hanging around this country to record music for almost ten years. The only time I had trouble understanding him was when he was kidding around about the Dan In Real Life soundtrack he wrote, and made a joke about trying to increase sales by putting Steve Carell on an album cover. I spent the next good long time going “He put a sick girl on the cover of one of his albums? Which album? Really? A sick girl?” until he played a song from the album and I realized I was stupid. I’m just going to go ahead and blame that one on the audio system.
Sondre’s also absolutely hilarious, which I was not expecting. My parents used to take me to a lot of free folk concerts when I was little, and those people were never funny. They were all about nature and their long-lost loves and more nature, so when I hear a funny musician, I’m instantly endeared to them like the idea of someone being able to sing and have a sense of humor is deeply, deeply revolutionary. Plus, there’s just something about how Sondre sings so intently and sweetly that’s just hypnotic. It was one of the rare instances where I felt like I was actually missing something closing my eyes. When I met him after the show (after two encores and a straight hour plus of the cutest music you can imagine) he was still completely bright-eyed and bushy tailed, joking and talking with everyone in the (giant) line. It was ridiculous. Is that man on some kind of drug? If so, where can I find it?
What I really wanted, more than anything, was a picture, but no one else was asking for pictures and who wants to be that person who’s all obnoxiously making someone else take a picture while they pose awkwardly? Plus the line was super, super long, and pictures take time, and I’m a bit of a social coward, so I just had him sign a poster like everyone else in line did. We had one of those five-minute conversations that I’m sure artists never remember and yet their dorky fans such as myself keep in their hearts forever and ever. We discussed the sad lost art form of vinyl (how else are you supposed to listen to James Taylor? Really, universe) and how he was much taller than I thought he would be. To be fair, almost everyone is taller than I think of them, because in my head everyone is my height, and I’m 4’11”. Clearly this is a ridiculous notion, but I find it hard to disabuse myself of. This absolutely delighted him (as did another fan’s earlier suggestion that he had the power to destroy the universe), since people are always apparently telling him how little and cute he is. Oh Sondre! I, too, suffer greatly from this! Perhaps we could bond over this? Over cookies?
Well, it didn’t hurt to ask, now did it?
Sondre’s single from his new album, Heartbeat Radio.