Backed by a double bass and a drummer, Vollebekk blew through a short nine-song set from his debut album Inland; a record of love and loss, sung in his characteristically soulful voice. Forming a semi-circle around the stage, the packed audience of women, boyfriends and glasses-wearing intellectual types watched in rapt attention, shushing anyone who dared make a sound.
An ‘artiste’ through and through, Vollebekk approached every song with an intense fervour, grimacing through his words and swaying to the melody. As the audience watched him, it became clear that Vollebekk’s appeal lies in his representing an approachable Bob Dylan. Though he may sometimes sway dangerously close to romantic Chris Martin-esque territory, Vollebekk is a storyteller, one who you can relate to.
His music is accessible, but not corny, making him a musician that intellectuals, music snobs and mothers can appreciate. It is this blend of sentimentality and authenticity that saves him from John Meyer or Joshua Radin comparisons. For though they may all share an affinity for romantic escapades, Vollebekk somehow retains an edge in both his music and lyrics that keeps him acceptably cool.
And so, even with my hard journalistic exterior, by the end of the set as he readied a violin loop for his final song, I found myself imagining him in the hallways of my high school, instrument in hand, a part of the sophisticated music crowd. For those few seconds I, like everyone else, thought I knew him. Safe to say, I fell hard. Damn it.