REVIEW: Lukas Graham at Hammerstein Ballroom

The pop/soul sensation that is Lukas Graham – the name of the band, not the name of the singer as many believe – came to a sold out Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City on Saturday night to perform in front of a heavily Danish crowd, with many in attendance having made the trek from Denmark to see their native sons, and of course brought many a Danish flag with them – though, sadly, there wasn’t a single danish to be found.

I must confess that until I did my research for this show, I too thought Lukas Graham was the dude with the microphone, rather than the name of the actual band (shout out to the horn section, conveniently named The Rusty Trombones – I’ll let you guys write the jokes for that one). You learn something new every day, and it paid off because while I was shooting the entire band, the other photographers were focused almost exclusively on actual Lukas (real name Forchhammer).

Anyway, let’s get into it. It turns out the band doesn’t play much off the first album, which is fine when the second album is so good. Oddly enough both albums are titled Lukas Graham, so it’s easy to confuse them if you’re not a superfan. They did play the second Lukas Graham album in its entirety, though, while adding three songs off the first Lukas Graham – Criminal Mind, Drunk In The Morning and Nice Guy, which also included a pretty bad ass drum solo.

It’s no secret that I like shows like this, where a band plays an entire album. The only Lukas Graham songs on the radio here in NYC are Mama Said and 7 Years, and it’s nice to be able to hear the rest of what they’ve got from that second incarnation of the album by the same name as the first. That said, the whole thing is very good, and 7 Years sounds better live than it does on the album – though I guess that’ll happen when you have 2,000 people singing along. It’s moments like those that still give me chills in this business, hearing every single person in the room start singing along to a song. I love it.

I know pop music is heavily produced, but Lukas Graham puts on a great live performance, and actual Lukas legitimately has a solid voice. It’s hard, though, to really say much about a show that features an entire album and not much else. I think Drunk In The Morning and Happy Home are my new favorite Lukas Graham songs, and I wish the latter of the two would get some radio time. The night wrapped up with 7 Years, if that was any kind of surprise, and as I mentioned above, it’s even better live. You’ve really gotta hand it to a band that comes out and plays with that much energy, even more so when they have amazing fans from all over the world to help out.

I’d see this show again, no question. Check out the gallery below.

Lukas Graham performs at a sold out Hammerstein Ballroom in NYC