Lenka, an Australian-born singer whose songs have appeared on Grey's Anatomy and the new 90210 series, dropped a sugar bomb on the Record Bar last night. "Sugar bomb" is actually a lyric in her boppy song "Skipalong," as well as an apt description of her supersweet pop music. It's not at all "Dangerous and Sweet" -- another song title. Nope, Lenka and her love songs are just cute and safe and pleasant, even more so than Feist or Regina Spektor. Radio stations of the Hot Adult Contemporary variety should probably play the shit out of her.
Little Lenka -- she even sings about being short in one song -- undulated on stage amid four other musicians last night -- a guitarist/keyboard player, drummer, bassist and horn man. The horn man tooted into a trumpet and at least one other brass instrument over the course of the night, often providing the most impressive element of the song. Lenka herself alternated between just singing and singing with a keyboard or keytar. She's got a powerful voice -- a high point in the night came as she sang acapella except for eerie radio waves amplified by the PA.
The Record Bar wasn't packed, but every table was full of a crowd that skewed a little older and female. I noticed a few middle aged couples and several groups of women who could sing along to every word. Most folks remained in their seats, though, even when Lenka perched on the very edge of the stage to cover Modest Mouse's "Gravity Rides Everything." Two fellows did get up and dance prominently a couple of times. Lenka liked that. She announced that she'd never played a show where the women sat and the men danced. (I think those guys were gay.)
The Phoenix band Miniature Tigers opened the show, with a mellow, unmemorable set. I suspect I might like their record, though. Both bands played on a stage decorated with giant cutouts of forest animals -- owls, a bird, even a tiger. The set-up reminded me of a similar arrangement at a performance I once saw by the band Cute Is What We Aim For. Lenka has certainly hit that mark.