Saturday, March 12, 2005

Get Me To The Lerche* On Time!

Sondre Lerche, Bar Academy, Birmingham, Monday March 7 2005.

Dead Kenny has been kept waiting on many occasion for a headline act to haul their sorry arses on stage and do that shit they do, so it's typical that when he arranges to meet someone for a quick drink before the gig tonight that Norwegian pop troubadour Sondre Lerche decides to be considerate to the poor metroproles who have to go to work next morning and emerges on stage before 9pm! Luckily being within hearing distance of the venue Dead Kenny is able to drink up, make his excuses and leave in time for the third number.

Fortunately your correspondent isn't required to fight his way to the bar or muscle in too brusquely to gain a decent view, as the combined temptations of The Raveonettes, Dogs and The Boxer Rebellion nextdoor and Ray LaMontagne at the nearby Glee Club has reduced attendance to about 30 hardcore Lerche-rs. Sondre is a diminutive-but-dashing character (resembling a strange morph of Billy Fury, Mark Owen and Neil Hannon from The Divine Comedy) whom Anja has previously described as 'ugly' and at least one person seems to agree with her judging from the girl-in-front's cameraphone's viewfinder which seems to be focusing on just about every part of his anatomy but his face.

Sondre advises that he's just been to Nottingham where he's learnt that the 'h' in Nottingham and Birmingham is silent. This amuses him greatly, so cue exaggerated pronunciations of Birming-um ad infinitum, as several young females in the audience melt into a pool of their own vaginal discharge. The good folk of Nottingham had advised him that he had to get this right in Brum or he'd be in big trouble with the second city's fierce and warlike gig-goers, but instead he finds us to be cute 'like boy-scouts...and girl-scouts, of course'. And without further ado, he proceeds to tie our heartstrings into a fiendishly clever series of knots with some achingly beautiful songs of heartbreak and loss. But just as the emerging picture of a lovelorn and desolate hero seems to be getting too much for some of the more sensitive ladies in the audience, he shrugs and says 'Hey! I'm still here.' What a trouper (Sir Robert Baden-Powell would be proud).

Despite having settled in America and about to embark on a support turn for Elvis Costello's US Tour, Sondre reveals that he simply couldn't afford to bring a band with him on this occasion, so we get a completely solo (and mainly acoustic) set. He even dispenses with the microphone for an intimate 'campfire' rendition of 'Maybe You're Gone' for the set closer, sending everyone home suitably charmed, even those stood behind the 6ft 6in blockhead who insisted on standing right at the front throughout.

*Yes, I know that the 'ch' in Lerche is almost certainly 'a hard ch' but Dead Kenny is using poetic license, so smell my hard ch----, you pedantic linguistic muthas!



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