You Sing, I Write: Passenger Pleases New York Crowd in Third U.S. Show

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Passenger Pleases New York Crowd in Third U.S. Show

Though it was only Passenger's third show in the U.S., you wouldn't have been able to tell. The UK-based band had Mercury Lounge filled Wednesday night to an impressive set of solid acoustic guitar playing and even better vocals. The night included a six-song acoustic set with an unexpected, but highly enjoyable cover of Rihanna's "Umbrella."

Frontman Mike Rosenberg introduced New Yorkers to his band by saying, "We are two of Passenger," before kicking off the night with "Things You've Never Done," a slower ballad with simple guitar strumming and soft vocals.

"It's been a crazy week and a half. Before now, we've been in Nashville and L.A. It's a different world down in Nashville. A lot of haircuts . . . or lack of them," Mike joked before beginning "What You Think," a song he wrote while in Nashville. With quirky lyrics like, "My girlfriend says I'm a mess/I should call her my ex-girlfriend I guess," he had the crowd laughing throughout Passenger's performance.

While some have compared his voice to that of David Gray and his songwriting reminiscent of Damien Rice in that you really have to listen closely to truly appreciate the lyrics and understand the story behind the song, whatever it is, Passenger's music is definitely catchy.

Although the majority of their 25-minute set featured mostly acoustic, slower numbers, Passenger's impressive "Umbrella" cover had the crowd erupting in claps and laughter. "I was trying to do the rap in there as well, but English people don't rap well," Mike joked. Throughout the slower, softer songs played during the evening the room was so quiet and attentive to the two men on acoustic guitars on the stage that you could almost hear a pin drop. "Thank you for being so quiet," Mike told the crowd.

Bandmate Steven's deeper voice accented perfectly with Mike's higher vocals while the two guitars blended well throughout each song, often assisting with the crescendos and decrescendos in Mike's singing. Four of the songs played can be expected on their upcoming full-length album, Wicked Man's Rest due out later this summer as well as a few on their EP due to hit stores June 24.

Perhaps crowd favorite of the night, a close tie with Rihanna's cover, was their final song of the evening, "Night Vision Binoculars." This song was the most upbeat of the night and you could tell Mike and Steven were having a blast onstage as the crowd thoroughly enjoyed it as well. Definitely a faster beat and quicker guitar playing and singing, the song ended the night on a high note.

Although this was Passenger's last U.S. show for a while, be sure to check out their MySpace or Website for when they'll be back!

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