Norwegian beau Sondre Lerche opened his set at the Troubadour on May 4th with the goal to “arrive at completely uncomplicated pleasure by the end of the show.” Glued to his guitar since age 8 and performing gigs before he was even allowed to legally drink or smoke, Lerche knows exactly how to deliver a knock-out performance, nothing short of ecstatic pleasure.
Lerche’s most recent album, Pleasure, was released earlier this year. Setting out for his U.S. tour, stocked with all sorts of Pleasure merch – even Pleasure scented candles, which apparently quickly sell out after each show – the artist ran into some immigration issues when two of his musicians (keys and bass) were denied work visas. On the verge of canceling the U.S. tour, his drummer came to save the day and found two very talented musicians within just 24 hours – who also managed to learn the entire repertoire in those 24 hours.
Off to a rock ‘n roll start, the show opened up very theatrically with the energy you’d expect from a Queen performance. Despite the promise of “not wanting to blow all of our circuits up front,” the band actually burned some circuits after the second song. But Lerche quickly recovered from the small tech mishappening and slowed the set down mid-way to save some energy and build pleasure through musical adventure rather than blasting eardrums.
From heart-felt a cappella serenades and Disney-esque ballards to dropping to his knees and shredding the guitar to his upbeat pop-inspired tunes, Lerche chose to end the show with a full-blown electronica dance party. He even jumped in the crowd to join in on the dance floor for a solid 10-minute up-and-down-bouncing. One thing is for sure: this show was just as much a theater performance as it was a music performance. And by looking at people’s big smiles, I’m pretty sure Lerche accomplished his goal:everyone in the crowd had arrived at uncomplicated pleasure by the end.