by Gerard McCarthy
After postponing their February performance due to illness, the folk-pop duo Kings of Convenience fronted an expectant crowd at the 9:30 Club on Sunday night. Few left disappointed. The Norwegian duo Eirik Glambek Bøe and Erlend Øye (also of The Whitest Boy Alive) delighted with a variously moody and energetic set interspersed with the bands witty repartee. It’s rare to see such a well-heeled performance from two musicians that are, on-stage at-least, so relaxed about their public persona. At times it bordered on the overly staged- the interlude stories that reference local geography worked too well; and the sense of musical theatre was amplified by the clown-like Øye who happily took the center of attention, grooving, crowd-surfing and conducting the audience along with Bøe.
But those rare times when it seemed like too much, mostly early in the performance, were quickly counter-balanced by the pair returning to the center and performing one of their more reflective, slower songs under two sole spot-lights. It was these moments when through squinted eyes you saw a glimpse of Simon & Garfunkel- an influence overtly referenced later when, along with bearded openers ‘Franklin for Short’, they got the crowd swaying to an excellent cover of Paul Simon’s ‘Bodyguard’. Another encore later and they hadn’t stopped giving after more than an hour and a half on stage- Øye stuck around to do another 2hour DJ-set in the basement. Whilst most (including myself) bailed to get some zed’s before work in the morning, it was difficult to leave without thinking that the effortless affection and enthusiasm that animated the performance wasn’t feigned after all- perhaps these guys truly do thrive on treating their fans like kings. Four months late? The Kings of Convenience almost made it seem better that way.