Going Live: The Sounds

The Sounds1Photos Cred: Jeff Parsons

Who: The Sounds
Phoenix Concert Theatre, Toronto
September 13th 2009

“You’ve listened to The Sounds before right?”

“Nope, never heard of them. I’m just here for a good time.”

The Sounds are a prime example of European musicians who aren’t known by name. Although they flirt with indie sweethearts, a large amount of North American music admirers are stubborn. Instead of allowing their ears to be entertained by acts such as The Kooks and The Subways, they grovel at the knees of British rock posers who have more American twang than swagger. This time, a sea of Toronto sound addicts found themselves displaying their submissive selves to the Swedish quintet.

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One aspect artists from the other side of the Atlantic Ocean seem to channel on-stage is a pure rock star attitude. They don’t try to portray it, they breathe it. After an enticing intro filled with dancing lights and dazzling sounds, singer Maja Ivarsson was welcomed on-stage by a bevy of cheers and whistles. Clad in a hooded black sweater and shorts that emphasized her elegant legs, Ivarsson oozed sex appeal but was focused on demanding attention through her vocals.

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The word “energetic” is definitely an understatement when describing The Sounds as they seem to take every detail in performing to another level. Ivarsson’s powering voice backed by booming rhythms commanded the audience as the group shifted through some of their lesser-known tracks. When the set seemed as if it was a lost cause, the singer explained the band was thankful for being able to tour around the world and boldly introduced their next number.

“No one sleeps when I’m awake motherf*cker!”

Heavily fusing together the 80s’ vibe felt on their latest record with their live material might be a bit much for the average listener, but it energized everyone at the lusty Phoenix Concert Theatre. While lashing through songs like “Beatbox”, Hurt You” and “My Lover”, the band’s studio albums seemed to be stripped-down acoustic versions compared to their stage presence. Feet danced, arms flailed and even adults past their prime found themselves excitedly convulsing with pleasure.

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One high point was undeniably Ivarsson’s innocent version of “Night After Night”. Flattered by the spotlight and a melody full of heartache, the singer crooned by herself, beaming emotions one usually keeps inside. After leaving the hushed crowd for a quick break, she returned to the stage puffing a lit cigarette, almost out of satisfaction. She indeed was pleased, but wasn’t fulfilled as they jumped into the promiscuous tease “Tony The Beat”. The flirtatious track influenced fist pumps, hip thrusts, sexually touching guitars and other arousing actions that caused adults to escort their teenagers out of the venue.

Some may say such gestures are a bit much for a band that sways between indie rock and new wave, but its not. The Sounds pack a punch and have enough character to charm souls and provoke them to dance until their toes turn black and blue.

Something some British rock posers can barely do in arenas.

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