Old hat

So you know that band you listened to on repeat freshman year of college? Yeah. That one. Even though it’s been four or five years since you’ve really spent any time with their music, you still feel an undeniable affinity towards them. (1) So when I found out a few weeks ago that Kings of Convenience was coming to town, I immediately resolved to go.  They are from Norway, after all – not exactly easy to catch. Not to mention how incredibly cute Erlend Øye is. Evidence:

Though the show was advertised as ‘sold out’ before I had even heard about it, I showed up at the Bowery Ballroom with my trust “Do you have a ticket?” sign (2), but it turns out that I didn’t even have to use it. They had tickets at the door still.

But it’s weird – going to see a band you used to practically idolize. It was like an automatic Of course I’ll be going to see Kings of Convenience before I had even stopped to consider the ticket price… or the fact that I haven’t even listened to their music in years. If nothing else, I reasoned later, it would be a nice nostalgia-inducing event.

I hope to find some photos from the show, but until then this will have to suffice.

For some great photos from the show, go here.

In reality, they actually played a number of new songs from their upcoming album, Declaration of Dependence.  (It only took them two and a half years in the recording studio to make it – largely due to Erik’s tendency to accidentally break the crucial fingernail on his index finger). The new songs weren’t too shocking and were mostly just an extension of their previous music, but towards the end of their set, I admit I was secretly thankful that someone yelled out: “Play some old stuff!” To the delight of the audience, they played “Homesick” and “Little Kids” (3) among a few others.

Another highlight of the evening was definitely hearing Lesley Gore’s “It’s My Party.” The overly adolescent song was just too great coming from two attractive male Norwegians well beyond their teenage years.

But the true delight of the evening came in their encore. As they played the opening notes of “Build-up,” I couldn’t help but think: man it’s going to sound so different without Feist. (Feist had appeared on a couple of their tracks). And I was trying to think if I remembered all the words and could maybe softly sing her part. But then, when it came time, a woman started singing from the balcony, and I looked up and saw none other than Leslie Feist. Fantastic surprise. The few times I’ve seen Feist over the years, I’ve always secretly wished Erlend and Erik would magically appear on stage. But I suppose it’s easier to get a Canadian to come to a NY show than it is to get a couple of Norwegians to a show in North Carolina. Feist then made her way down to the stage to lend her vocal talent to “Know-How.”

You can hear some of the new tracks form Kings of Convenience here. And uh, well, if you missed them tonight, maybe they’ll be back to NY in four years… if you’re lucky.

(1) Unless perhaps that band for you is Dashboard Confessional or something. Luckily, I got the emo phase out of my system in middle and high school.

(2) That baby has gotten me into Lykke Li, Beach House, and more.

(3) It is worth noting that Erlend wrote “Little Kids” while visiting NY in 1999 and bumming around the Lower East Side.


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"He considered music a liberating force: it liberated him from loneliness, introversion, the dust of the library; it opened the door of his body and allowed his soul to step out into the world to make friends."

- Milan Kundera's The Unbearable Lightness of Being


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