With Blondfire and Ghost Beach
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Bringing the spirit of rock 'n' roll to the stage is easier said than done.
For a band like Sweden's The Sounds, however, it's an art that seems to come naturally, as they circle the globe, making dance floors tremble from continent to continent.
Supporting The Sounds last night at Grand Central were Los Angeles-based alternative pop band Blondfire and New York City synth pop trio Ghost Beach. While neither fueled the crowd's dance verve as intensely as the headliner, their confidence on stage makes it hard not to praise their efforts.
Their sets were short, but sweet. Both Blondfire and Ghost Beach played tracks from their newest albums, Young Heart and Blonde, respectively, leaving the audience satisfied as they casually sang along.
As for The Sounds, frontwoman Maja Ivarsson is compellingly thrilling, to say the least. Her wildly charismatic presence is both aggressive and sexy. And some of her stage antics would even make your ex-biker babe grandmother blush.
The band's drummer, Fredrik Blond, was first to walk on the Grand Central stage. Then, as he animated the airwaves with a drum solo, the remaining band members took their positions on the stage, one by one.
A few seconds later, Maja strutted her way to the center in a leather jacket, inviting the audience to join the night's ride, singing the opening lyrics to "Emperor" off their latest album, Weekend.
Cigarette in mouth and middle finger in the air, Maja punched and kicked the air, bitch-slapped the mic, crawled on the ground, hiked up her skirt, and snarled at the crowd.
Maja would sneak sips of her beer and champagne in between each track, composing herself as she rolled her shoulders and inhaled deep breaths before returning to the mic. Being a badass is tiring, you know.
And while the instrumental support from the rest of the band was phenomenal (as it wouldn't be The Sounds with just Maja), we could hardly take our eyes off of her.
It was clear that her outlandish persona is what likely dominates any Sounds show.
Alternating back and forth between songs from all five of their studio albums, The Sounds did more than enough to please both old and new fans alike.
Spending an hour and a half on the stage, there was plenty of time for just about every hit that Ivarsson and her outfit have created over the past 16 years, from their first U.S. single release, "Living In America," to their latest triumph, "Shake Shake Shake."
Whether young or not so young, just about every other fan wore a band shirt depicting one of The Sounds' five album covers.
And in the end, everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves as they screamed along with Maja to each and every lyric she belted, no matter how much of an annoying douche that guy in the hoodie was being.
Best Moment: When Maja spit in the air, caught it in her hand, and licked it off her palm.
Overheard in the Crowd: "The first time I saw The Sounds was when I was 17 at their MySpace secret show at Studio 8. I got a lot of crotch shots from Maja. I'm 24 now."
Seen From the Front Row : The entire band was rocking the color black, right down to Maja's panties.
The Sounds' Setlist:
-"Song With a Mission"
-"Shake Shake Shake"
-"Something to Die For"
-"Take It the Wrong Way"
-"The Best of Me"
-"Wish You Were Here"
-"4 Songs & A Fight"
-"No One Sleep When I'm Awake"
-"Painted by Numbers"
-"Living in America"
-"Tony the Beat"
-"Rock 'N' Roll"
-"Hope You're Happy Now"
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