Fresh off of his stint as one of the highest acclaimed up and coming Norwegian artists, Thomas Dybdahl decided it was time to debut in the US as a headlining act to accompany the latest of his 5 studio releases, Songs (2011). His style is difficult to define and I am not sure if it is because he is still experimenting with different sounds and styles, or that their essence is truly unique enough to be in a class of its own. One thing is for sure, the live performance I witnessed on Friday 7/29 at the Brick and Mortar in SF was joyous, blissful, and just a great overall musical experience.
Brick and Mortar is a small classy venue complete with a corner stage arrangement, top shelf bar, upstairs balcony, and floor tables. This was almost the perfect SF backdrop for the set. Dybdahl preformed mostly melodic guitar and lead vocals and was joined onstage by a drummer, bassists, keyboard, and an additional guitar. Eager to hear what Dybdahl was all about, I was all ears once the set began. Easy going melodic guitar chords, cheerful keyboard answers, precise bass lines, and slow tempo drum kicks make this the kind of music you want sing along with and even dance to. The rhythms of many of the tracks were just jazzy enough to excite the hips. Overall, the live sound of the arrangement was just incredibly pleasing. I wish there was some quality video footage of the SF event to share. Here is a link to their performance of “A Love Story” in Ohio earlier in July:
Now, I will say this, it is difficult to get a taste of this experience by just listening to the album, which is also true for many, if not all productions. However, with Dybdahl in particular, the aura, tempo, balance of sound, soul, and energy of the live performance blew the album interpretation right out of the water. It was like the soundtrack of a lucid dream where I was underwater exploring the depths of the romantic and soulful side of my psyche. Check out this performance of “All’s Not Lost,” that features a great organ keyboard sound and great vocals.
For those that are interested, take a listen to the latest album Songs released earlier this year. Then, if you are lucky enough to be in driving distance to a show, hop in the car dressed up with your significant other and be prepared for a night of enchantment.