The first glimpse I had of The Sounds' live show was the last minute of "Seven Days A Week" on Carson and I wasn't impressed. Sixty seconds of a band's live act (especially on TV) isn't exactly the best way to judge a performance, but I've got to say, I wasn't expecting all that much from them last night. I know Dave Grohl is a fan and I like their album, but I wasn't sure how it would all translate to a live setting. The Sounds were the first act on a bill that boasted San Francisco rockers the Vue and The Raveonettes and they got started shortly after 9pm. The band took the stage (Flock Of Seagulls-esque hair cuts for the boys, sexy/messy blond mop for frontwoman Maja Ivarsson) and broke into the first US single from their recently released album, Living In America. However, that first song, "Seven Days A Week," wasn't quite up to par, as Johan Bengtsson's bass wasn't working so he and one of the sound guys scrambled to get it up and running for basically the whole song. Thankfully, everything got worked out by the second tune and The Sounds seemed to find their rhythm.
Everyone's attention was clearly focused on Maja, the band's sexy and cocky frontwoman. Like The Hives' Howlin' Pelle, Maja seemed to pattern her stage moves after early footage of Mick Jagger - strut, strutÖ hands on the hipsÖ shake the assÖ etc. She had it down. The band steamrolled through a number of songs from Living In America, including the title track (which Maja said is a big hit in Sweden), "Hit Me," "Hope You're Happy Now" and "Dance With Me." Maja has quite an engaging stage persona. She is clearly at home on stage and is extremely confident. "Nothing but the hits," she would shout on occasion, in addition to other "we're the greatest band ever" sort of statements, which I like. What's the point of being in a band if you don't think you fucking rock?
The show ended with a little chant (led by Maja) that had the crowd spelling out S-O-U-N-D-S! Maja replied with "WE'RE THE SOUNDS, FUCK YOU MOTHERFUCKERS!"
It was an entertaining show for sure - better than I expected. Maja's voice definitely gets a little help in the studio for the album, but her flamboyant stage presence makes up for any vocal shortcomings. Thanks to New Line for the tix.