Wednesday's lineup at the Living Room proved to be quite an unconventional night of music. Comical Swedish artist and producer Tobias Froberg took the stage shortly after 8 p.m., while phenomenal one-woman band Theresa Andersson followed soon after.
Drawing laughs from the audience by prefacing each song throughout the night, Froberg ended each song introduction saying, "and I wrote a song about that because I'm a singer-songwriter," with Napoleon Dynamite-esque glasses and a voice that recalls Ben Folds. The crowd loved his never-ending sarcasm and anxiously waited on the edge of their seats to hear what he said next.
When listening to the lyrics behind each song, a more serious side of Froberg was revealed while playing piano and acoustic guitar. Before beginning "She Is Becoming Her Mother Again" he said, "Sometimes when I call my mother and father I find myself sounding exactly like them. Even though you love your parents, you don't want to become them . . . but you do."
Before playing last song of the night, "God's Highway," accompanied by Theresa Andersson and Ane Brun, Froeberg informed the audience that after the show, "I'm going to sit downstairs in the basement and sniff some glue" to which the crowd erupted in laughter. Definitely the comical performer, Froeberg kept the audience attentive throughout the somewhat more mellow songs in his set.
One-woman band Theresa Andersson took the stage at 9 p.m. playing a 50-minute set. With the stage covered in a white shag rug, Andersson could be seen utilizing two loop pedals with her bare feet throughout her entire performance, syncing up each instrument she played — guitar, drums, violin, dulcimer, tambourine and chimes.
"I'm not going to talk. I'm just going to make some noise," Andersson told the packed room. "Welcome to my kitchen by the way. You're getting the whole show tonight."
Definitely not your average performance, Andersson explained her set as being somewhat like a dance. "After a while I started thinking of it as a dance, that's when it really became fun." She even took dance lessons from a friend in preparation for her live show. "I actually ended up falling a lot in the beginning. I'll be standing on one leg and stretching the other one out, skip steps or jump. At one point I'll have to stand on my heels and hit two pedals at the same time, so I couldn't keep my balance at first," she says.
Spending about a month putting together her live show, Andersson said it took a while to really get the music in her body. "I would make a lot of mistakes in the beginning. I would be really nervous, but maybe those mistakes were something that [only] I recognized," she says. "To me, I've reached the point where it's really a musical instrument. It's just another way of playing songs and playing music."
Andersson's soulful vocals and friendly onstage banter made for an enjoyable set. At times, the audience seemed to be intently and silently watching her performance to which she said, "Don't be shy. There's just one of me and so many of you out there."
Before her show, Andersson explained that she wants the audience to "really feel that they're in the music and not worry so much about, 'Oh my God is she going to fall or step on the wrong pedal?'" She seemed to get this across by her second song of the night and current YouTube sensation, "Na Na Na." A fun and upbeat song, Andersson had the audience relaxed and at ease watching her dance around the stage all while playing multiple instruments.
One of Andersson's favorites to play live, "Birds Fly Away," is a New Orleans-inspired song which samples Smokey Johnson and has that soulful '60s feel, reminiscent of the Supremes. Definitely the crowd favorite, the audience was clapping along with Andersson throughout most of the song and screams could be heard towards the end of her performance.
"Each song is unique and they all have a specific role in the set," Andersson says. "I really wanted to bring the listener on a journey when they listen to the set. I always think its best when you hear it from beginning to end because it goes into different spectrums of the musical language I use."
And Wednesday night she definitely brought the audience on a unique journey. Ending her set to thunderous applause and a standing ovation, Theresa Andersson is one artist who stands out from the crowd.
You can read this post originally on the CMJ blog here. Check out the video of Theresa Andersson's song "Birds Fly Away" below, performed live at home in her kitchen.