THE SOUNDTRACK OF OUR LIVES
The Mercury Lounge, New York City
April 4, 2007
Anticipation ran high for this legendary band, due to the last appearance by The Soundtrack of Our Lives being July 2005 at Maxwells in Hoboken, NJ. Naturally, the show was sold out and the fans huddled near the front of the stage as the band began to settle into their seats on stage at 10.30pm. Ebbot Lundberg exchanged pleasantries with the crowd and stated that the band would be performing two sets tonight - one being an acoustic set, followed by a five-minute break, and then closing with an electric set. The versatility of the band, I thought, would really shine for this gig as I had seen them play a acoustic show once before at the Knitting Factory in 2005 but never split up into two sets.
Opening the show with "Not Kinda Worried", off the double disc set "A Present From The Past", it was evident the band was very happy to be back in the States playing a gig. Older numbers such as "Mega Society", and more recent numbers such as "Believe I Found" and "Lone Summer Dream" followed in the acoustic set. The latter song displayed the beautiful interplay between keyboardist Martin Hederos and the guitar work of Mattis Barjed and Ian Persson.
In an acoustic setting, the layered qualities possessed by TSOOL in their songwriting, comes to the forefront, it's easier to spot the subtle nuances of their sound and attention they place on a song's details and parts. As I mentioned, the aspects of the band's sound, were fully highlighted in their choice of a cover song. Ebbot mentioned to the crowd that he was not able to attend the Arthur Lee Benefit from last year, which was organized by Mr. Percy Plant at the Beacon Theatre, but that in their absence the band would perform the Love classic "Signed DC" tonight. The emotional depth of Ebbot's vocals, coupled with the clarity and honesty paid to the music of this classic song was stunning. I thought to myself the band hit a creative high point of their acoustic set on this number. Just as if felt this way, the band then reached another creative mark with the equally great "To Somewhere Else", a song that mines a dreamlike state in the lyrics "just pretend you're somewhere else". Once again, Hederos was stunning in his keyboard playing adding color and an ominous tone to this great song. Two songs later, the band
then played "Pass Through Fear", complete with Persson's chunky Keef Richard's rhythm-like guitar playing. Closing out their first set was "Broken Imaginary Time". All in all, a phenomenal first set and the crowd still hungered for more by this great band.
Coming back onto stage after a short break, the band geared up for another set. Starting off with a new rocker entitled "Fly", the guitar work was absolutely stunning. Filled with sharp hooks, both Persson and Barjed displayed why they rank up there in terms of two guitarists who able to work in tandem and still amaze with their individual style. Awesome beginning to a great set.
The songs kept coming at the crowd with great results. One after one, all of the band's prized work was played - "21st Century Rip Off", "Still Get Around", "James Last Experience" "Mind the Gap" and always a crowd favorite "Big Time". The latter song featured Mattias Barjed going airborne and kicking the air. The next three songs really pushed the band into a different realm of a live performance.
Over the last few times I have seen the band, "Age of No Reply" has emerged as one of the bands live favorites. For good reason too, it features everything that is great about the band: a well oiled rhythm section, impeccable riffing from both the keyboards - guitar and an incredible drive when it kicks into high gear. Next up was "Galaxy Gramophone" which defined the bands powerful live performance capabilities. Both guitarists were fierce in the six-string attack.
For me, though the absolute killer moment followed when the band introduced they wanted to do a cover song. People at the back of the club started to yell out to the band "play Ace of Spades"! While the band does do a great version of the Motorhead classic, nothing compares to their version of the Stooges ' "Sick of You". When the band began to launch into the song, the meditative qualities of the repeated riff, Lundberg's quiet vocals, and drug infused organ slowly began to dissolve into the band
blasting out the violent bridge of the song. Chaos erupted with Persson's wah wah leads, complimented by a sheer wall of sound from Barjed and a relentless rhythm section. It was truly a memorable performance. You can almost sense that the band was honoring not only an influence and their roots (ala Union Carbide Productions) but that they were wishing luck
upon a successful year for the mighty Stooges.
Several songs followed, I looked at my watch at the conclusion of their encores - "Mantra Slider" and "Jehovah Sunrise" - blown away that the band had played Two Hours!!! It's easy to see why the Soundtrack of Our Lives have almost
developed a mythic quality, garnered a dedicated following and continue to develop as quality musicians - songwriters. The band is able to respect rock and roll's revered traditions, such as the time honored cover song, and to push themselves even harder such as a two hour set. As fans, the band provides us with enjoyment and memories such as this
riveting two hour performance.
- Arthur S.
Not Kinda Worried
Believe I've Found
Lone Summer Dream
The New Messiah
To Somewhere Else
Pass Through Fear
Just A Brother
Broken Imaginary Time
21st Century Rip Off
Still Get Around
James Last Experience
Mind The Gap
Age of No Reply
Sick of You
Instant Repeater '99
BACK TO THE BAR