Justin Timberlake might have been playing just across the casino, along with Alicia Keys, Taylor Swift and a reunited TLC, among others, at a benefit concert in the Mandalay Bay Events Center, but Swedish retro-poppers The Sounds didn’t seem to have any trouble drawing a crowd to the House of Blues last night. And while none of the band’s super-catchy tunes have made an impact on American radio (“Hurt You” was in a Geico commercial, though), there is a clearly a reserve of hardcore Sounds fans in Vegas, people who danced wildly, clapped and raised cell phones when instructed and even carried the chorus of “Night After Night” when singer Maja Ivarsson pointed the mic toward the crowd.
With this kind of dedicated following and such poppy new wave-style tunes, it’s a bit of a mystery why The Sounds aren’t more popular. They probably would’ve fit right in onstage with Timberlake (as they did supporting No Doubt in the same venue back in May), and they’d certainly do well opening for a mainstream pop singer like Kelly Clarkson or Pink. Ivarsson demonstrated real star presence, and the rest of the band was musically impressive. The big names may have had the arena and the prestige, but The Sounds clearly had the passion.