It’s 10 minutes after midnight and most people are in bed. But at the Grog Shop, the Sounds are just starting their set.
Wearing a leather jacket, shredded tights, black shorts, gold chains and high heels, singer Maja Ivarsson struts and sings, causing the frenzied crowd to lurch even closer to the stage. With her blonde hair and pixie frame, it would be easy to lose track of Ivarsson, but she commands attention, forcing the rest of the band to do their best to keep up with her.
After a couple of songs from their 2003 debut, Living in America, the band launches into “Dorchester Hotel” from the upcoming Crossing the Rubicon (which comes out on June 2). It's crisp rock ‘n’ roll, sprinkled with some drawn-out lines. They then played the new ”Four Songs and a Fight” (equal parts soul, new wave and dance) and "No One Sleeps When I’m Awake” (Rubicon's first single).
The Sounds are a thoughtful and thorough band, even when they're surrounded by hundreds of fans shoving their way to the stage. Ivarsson and her bandmates — especially guitarist Felix Rodriguez and synth guy Jesper Anderberg — have an unforced rapport onstage, taking their live shows beyond the records.
Sprinkled between the new songs were older favorites like the fast-paced “Hit Me,” which inspired a few audience members to slug each other. They were promptly kicked out. “Are you guys feeling happy now? 'Cause I hope you’re fucking happy,” Ivarsson shouted before “Hope You’re Happy Now,” a highlight.
The concert closed with “Tony the Beat” from 2006's Dying to Say This to You. As Ivarsson repeatedly sang “Don’t stop pushing,” there wasn’t a fan in the house who didn't do just that — pushing closer to the stage and closer to the band. —Brittany Moseley
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