What do you do when you're given a second chance? Take it, of course. Last time I saw The Sounds in New York they played at the exotically swanky Hiro Ballroom and I stood about 40 feet away on a platform near the bar. It was a great show with a view, but last night's version at Irving became the crowning rendition to a more interactive, sweat-packed and Maja-lashing good time. The house was already gridlocked top to bottom by the time I arrived, towards the end of Morningwood's final song. Before long a screen lowered to veil the stage with arbitrary clips and patterns.
One guy sat on the shoulders of his friend and entertained for two seconds with shadow puppets. As I made my way forward, I became stuck in a gutter spot in front of the speakers in between introductions, so I scooted towards the center, past a few dirty looks, next to the elbow of a tall beanstalk of a guy canoodling with his girlfriend. That was as far as I was going to get. Besides almost getting my ass kicked by a few surrounding teenyboppers, I became a second-row bead pinned in the crowd who was not going-to-fucking-move-until-the-show-was-over-and-had-better-hold-her-peace. Stakes were high.
After nearly a 40-minute delay (the band were expected be on at 10:20 "sharp"), out came Frederik, Jesper, Johan, Felix and finally Maja, with bleach blonde locks and dojo-banded black dress, to jumpstart the audience with "Queen of Apology." The song rang like a familiar anthem ("Quick fix and heartbeats, gets me so easily/ Now you got me on my knees/ This will be the death to me/ Tic tac, time goes by, hits me so suddenly/How you knock me off my feet/I'm the Queen of Apologies") as the band moved on to the playfully ornery "Hit me!" - where Maja eventually backed up, took off her cabaret heels and sprinted head-first into the crowd. A hand then pulled her back onstage, where she affectionately asked if anyone had gotten hurt before saying to a girl, "Sorry, Sweetie."
The rest of the night was nothing short of spectacular, with dazzling guitar displays by Johan and Felix, along with the characteristic snarls and flare of Maja's seductive dances with band mates. Perched atop the drum balcony, Maja loved eye contact with front-row fans , whose massive bundle of reaching arms looked to absorb her. Not long after the end of "Hope You're Happy," the band returned to polish the night off with "Dance With Me," the roaring "Fire" and "Ego." Flat, hexagonal bongos were then brought out for a drenched Felix and shirtless Johan as they tribally pounded the remaining notes to wrap the show. The crowd became hysterical.
Hot, disheveled and satisfying, The Sounds were intensely infectious for the second round of undeniable fun-fare. Not to sound too cognizant, but isn't the third time supposed to be a charm? (bad joke)