Friday, March 17, 2006

Magnet @ The Hotel Cafe

At the start of his set on Tuesday Even Johansen, the Norwegian singer-songwriter who records under the moniker of Magnet, announced that “(He'd) been waiting a long time for this.” This perfectly described not only his anticipation but most of the audience as well.

After reading a review of Magnet’s first album On Your Side, while standing in a Russian metro station, I immediately sought out the artist who was being compared to Jeff Buckley and Elliott Smith. Nic Harcourt of
KCRW didn't help my anticipation by calling On Your Side “up there with the best of 2004." With his latest release, The Tourniquet, Magnet further develops his unique sound that breaks hearts and heals wounds the world over.

The orchestration coupled with electronic snaps and ticks present on Magnet's albums has set him apart from others in his genre; however, his live solo performance sets even himself apart from the sound that he has become known for. As he played through a handful of songs from both albums, Magnet recreated a full band feel with little more than looping taps and scratches on his lap slide guitar. With the songs being played through a heavy amount of delay and reverb, the familiar tunes transformed into soundscapes, filling the intimate Hotel Cafe from wall to wall.

Magnet’s ability to turn a simple guitar song into a pseudo-electronic country western heartache left the audience somewhat perplexed about how to approach the performance. The complex one-man-band arrangements of songs like “On Your Side” and “Nothing Hurts Now” were so impressive that the underlying emotions of heartache and undying companionship could almost be overlooked. Although some of the beats Magnet produced proved to be somewhat redundant, his ability to touch you where it hurts never lost its edge.

After recently supporting both
Stars and Isobel Campbell on their North American tours, Magnet is winding down his stay in the States with two final dates at SXSW and a stop in New York. Though he may not be back in the near future, we hope the wait won't be quite as long this time.


Watch Magnet’s live performance on KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic

Listen to Magnet’s new album, The Tourniquet,


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I was there last night and it's a great place the bring good artist to the stage.

9:35 AM  

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