/Passenger. @ World Café Live, Philadelphia

Opening for /Passenger. for their World Café Live performance was local singer-songwriter Joshua Park. Despite his slightly scruffy appearance, Park had great stage presence and beautiful vocals as he strummed away on his acoustic guitar. He was joined by another acoustic guitar and a drummer with two free-standing toms, a free-standing hi-hat and a tambourine played with his foot like a bass pedal.

Joshua Park

Joshua Park

Just as impressive as his well-crafted songs is a book he wrote available in libraries, on which he based the song “Basement Love,” which starts off soft and slow then builds up to energy-driven classic rock riffs. Park played a 40 minute set that literally flew by so I was shocked to hear him speak about the last song, calling it “kind of a dancer,” before breaking into the bouncy and upbeat “Kitchen Table.” A slide along the fret board provided a country folk feel to the song and sound guy Bob was invited on stage to play the harmonica, which he did skillfully.

Headliners /Passenger. hit the US for a brief stint to promote their new release Wicked Man’s Rest. The trio began with the soft and pretty “What Do You Think?” in which front man Mike Rosenberg asks, “My family says I need a shrink. / What do you think?” as drummer Alon Cohen used a metal brush across the top of his tom.

Mike Rosenberg

/Passenger. : Mike Rosenberg

They followed with a soft melody in “Things You’ve Never Done.” Their acoustic set and Rosenberg’s strong vocals reminded me of fellow Brit David Ford, only a three piece and no looping. While it’s Ford’s looping that makes his music extraordinary, /Passenger.’s sound retains the same pleasant sound, but isn’t as impressive, though they pull off a great live show as each makes it clear that they are passionate about the music they are creating.


/Passenger.: Andrew Phillips

Halfway through the set, Rosenberg jokingly apologized with to the crowd because, “this is probably the most depressing music to play on a Friday night… sorry about that.” The crowd laughed but didn’t really mind the lyrical content because the music and performance was so wonderful.

Deviating from their own melancholy tinged songs, /Passenger. surprised and delighted the audience by seamlessly transitioning into a slowed down, acoustic cover of Rihanna‘s “Umbrella” from their own “For You.” As they played the chart topper, smiles were visible on the faces of each crowd member as they took in the mellowed out pop cover.


/Passenger.: Alon Cohen

The three rounded out the set with what Rosenberg called “on up tempo song for you” before playing “Night Vision Binoculars” (download), an energetic tune to dance to. The three briefly left the stage before Rosenberg returned to the stage alone for a solo encore. He played a song he’d recently written called “The Stupidest Song,” which had the crowd in stitches.

/Passenger.’s set is loaded with beautiful songs that make you want to sit back, rest your head against the shoulder of a significant other and close your eyes to be enveloped in the sound, yet they infuse their performance with little surprises to make sure you’re still paying attention. When they next come to your town next, make sure to catch their set.

Set List:
What Do You Think?
Things You’ve Never Done
Playstation Song
Table For One (download)
For You
Umbrella (Rihanna) (download)
Walk in the Rain
Night Vision Binoculars (download)
The Stupidest Song

/Passenger.: website | myspace | download “Umbrella (Rihanna)” live from Mercury Lounge

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One Response

  1. […] /Passenger:  website | myspace | download “Umbrella (Rihanna)” live from Mercury Lounge | live review […]

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