When we talk about singer/songwriter music, the word “intimate” pops up frequently. It makes sense, of course, since they tend to talk about things that are private or closely personal, but after a while, the word starts to feel redundant. With that being said, though, I can’t think of any other way to describe Leif Vollebekk’s set this afternoon. He’s using the same ingredients as many of his peers, but it still comes out feeling fresh, genuine, and yes, very intimate.
Vollebekk split his stage time more or less evenly between guitar and keyboard, and he was just as adept at both. The keyboards were heavy and guttural; the guitar was bright and winding, but his emotional intensity and commitment to performance remained constant. From the tender “Telluride” (which he’s never been to) to the soulful “Michigan” (which he’s probably been to), he left it all onstage, contorting his face and torso as if possessed. Most tracks, like the two just mentioned, came from his latest record, Twin Solitude, but the older songs felt right at home amongst the new ones. “Photographer Friend” was a particular highlight, marked by standout lyrics like “One day we’ll be married/to different people”. After his set, he returned for a welcome encore, playing the Joni Mitchell classic, “A Case of You”.
Leif and his band will return to World Cafe Live on April 21st for a performance he promises will be “much sexier,” but if today’s set wasn’t sexy, then I don’t know what is. I guess I’ll have to find out in a few months, and if you’d like to as well, you can find tickets and more information at XPN’s Concert Calendar.
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