The Louisville Orchestra “Strings Attached” series brought the incredible Sondre Lerche and Brandi Carlile to town this weekend. The Strings Attached series is a unique opportunity to bring together two types of crowds that far too infrequently take the opportunity to appreciate the art of the other. Bringing together contemporary artists with the more classical orchestra (although that is an unfair and improper term of reference, but is how they are seen for the sole reason of being an orchestra) provides a point where everyone can meet in the middle and enjoy the performance.
Sondre Lerche took the stage after 2 pieces by the orchestra with a swagger of someone trying to exude more confidence than he actually has. Sondre was clearly nervous, and continued to try to shake off his nerves with that sort of Elvis-like shoulder shake and kick. Although awkward between songs, once he started strumming on his guitar he couldn’t have been more at home. He started off the performance with a new track from a new upcoming album. He explained the “(You Knocked Me) Off my feet” as a “ridiculously in love song” and the next song, “Minor Detail” as being the first song he’d written after coming to America. Sondre maintained a great rapport with the audience, telling a series of jokes, including announcing an appreciation for the upgrade from Uncle Pleasant’s to KCA, but saying that although this had been a dream come true, he’d rather be sitting out in the seats with the audience listening to the orchestra than playing. He went on to explain that “You Know So Well” was written at the age of 16 when he’d first suffered heartbreak for the first real time. Hearing that made me truly appreciate the art form that knows no age, and that the story he’d written so long ago could still resonate. Sondre’s performance closed with the song that most of the audience was familiar with, the key song in 2007’s “Dan in Real Life” entitled “Let My Love Open the Door”, which Steve Carroll “performed” during the film.
Following intermission, Brandi Carlile took to the stage. Initially, I assumed that Sondre Lerche was the headliner, but that just goes to show what I know because it was clear that the crowd was there to see Brandi. People came from out of state, girls adorned in “I <3 Brandi” t-shirts, and the rest asking me if I knew anything about this opening band…it was clear that this was Brandi’s crowd. Ironically, during the performance she mentioned that she used to open for Sondre. While not intending to be glib, it could be construed to be a little insulting if heard with a critical ear. Song after song, the energy of the crowd began to grow, but it was’t until “What can I say?” that Brandi and crew had truly hit their stride. Taking the song completely acoustic, no mics or anything and standing at the very front of the stage, Brandi and the twins sang “alone is the last place I wanted to be” to an absurd ovation. Brandi mentioned having never gotten the chance to play Louisville before and thanked the city for letting her first time be so special by having the orchestra backing. For the countryish “Oh Dear“, one of the twins broke out the ukulele. Next, one of the biggest surprises of the night was the two Johnny Cash covers, namely “Jackson” and “Fulsome Prison Blues“, only to be outdone two songs later by Leonard Cohen’s “Halleujah” which made for an incredible cover and an incredible closing song. My only complaint is that I wish that Brandi would have utilized the orchestra more. On average, the orchestra was involved in every other song, as opposed to the way that Sondre did it, which was to allow the orchestra to do their thing for 2 songs, play 3 songs solo, then to close with the final five songs with the orchestra. Regardless, combining the orchestra with contemporary pop and rock acts make for an incredible show and I look forward to seeing many of the Strings Attached series.
Sondre Lerche – Let My Love Open the Door
Brandi Carlile – Turpentine
Brandi Carlile – Fulsom Prison Blues
Thanks to dm46100 for posting several great video clips from the night’s performance…
**MORE PHOTOS & SETLISTS**
- Like Lazenby
- Is it OK if I call you mine?
- (You Knocked Me) Off my Feet
- Minor Detail
- I want to call it Love
- Wet Ground
- You Know So Well
- Let my Love open the Door
- Sixty Years On
- Fall Apart Again
- What can I say?
- Pride and joy
- Oh Dear
- Jackson (Johnny Cash & June Carter cover)
- Fulsom Prison Blues (Johnny Cash cover)
- The Story
- Hallelujah (Leonard Cohen cover)