Last Night: Quadron at Commonwealth Lounge

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Beth Stirnaman/OC Weekly
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The Hype: In the middle of a successful pack of U.S. club dates, the down-tempo Danes of Quadron are quickly becoming Copenhagen's brightest aural export since, uh...well...the names are escaping us now. But judging by the push they've received from KCRW (89.9 FM) and throngs of local fans, it appears we Americans love us some Danish R&B. So when it was announced that the group would make a detour into Fullerton's Commonwealth Lounge, we anticipated on of the best Wednesday night soul sessions the club has seen in a while. Turns out we were right.   

The Show: Though she remained indelibly composed for most of the night, Coco O.'s wide-eyed stare into the Commonwealth crowd was indicative of Quadron's genuine surprise over their warm welcome to the States. But given the sultry, finger-snapping vibes of their debut album, it was obvious that this sleek, dim lit watering hole full of anxious admirers put the band right in their element.

Standing in front of a four-piece band, the poised 22-year-old vocalist emitted a slow leak of high pitched runs, as horns, bass and percussion played along to delicate beats from blazing laptop screens. Robin Hannibal, the groups musical arranger, was content to stay off stage, managing the sound boards. For the first few minutes, Coco's fragile falsettos got a bit overwhelmed by the backing tracks. But the band's soft, understated genius quickly hit its stride during "Unpatience," as meandering jazz vocals simmered with passion and sparse outbursts of attitude over a rolling barrage of hoots and hollers from the packed dance floor. 

The wave of two-step jams continued the swinging throughout their set with Motown-tinged horns of "Pressure" while the band switched dutifully between laid-back lounge music and tender, blue-eyed soul. Not merely content to entertain the crowd with song, Coco toyed with her audience throughout the set, espousing her love for Fullerton's local clothing stores. Apparently the sea green marching band jacket she wore over her tight skirt was bought across the street. Look's like OC fashions are slowly going worldwide. 

Though the band played for a little less than an hour, they made room for almost all the sonic gems from their album. The blissful, smoldering tones of "Day" and "Buster Keaton" were obvious favorites. But some of the best energy came from the clap-heavy fervor of "Jeans." As the band prepared to wrap things up with "Slippin'" voices in the crowd shouted out the infectious retro pop song: "I'm slipping but you can't get me off the dance floor / It's too much of a comfort zone." 

There was obviously some truth to those words as the band answered the crowds demand for an encore. However, they chose to end things on with another slow jam--a moody Danish cover of "Herfra Hvar vi Star" by German composer Niels Skousen. Complicated pronunciations aside, most Quadron fans can attest to the song's quiet beauty that blooms with tranquil guitar chords. It's the kind of song that reminds us of the band's ability to harness the kind of soft simplicity with the surprising power to knock you on your ass.


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