All the seats in the house were taken, and somehow you got a sense that most of the patrons weren’t there just for coffee, tea and cookies. They also weren’t merely seeking refuge from the cold. The counter was staffed by a guy who sang along to most of the set while pouring drinks, and somehow managed to actively promote Citrus CD sales in between songs.
Intently focused but not distant, band members Jesper Andreasson, Thomas Hjorth, Mikkel Heimbürger and Jesper Norskov Kristensen took the stage dressed mostly in black and began to stylishly construct an hour-long set featuring a number of captivating new songs in addition to favorites from their 2004 release, io. Although they were plagued by an early sound glitch that forced the band to abort and then valiantly retry their second song, Citrus never let on that its rhythm had been broken.
The stunning "Forgive Us Now," a new song that turns on a quick stop/start vocal trick, is the most aptly themed song I’ve heard in months. Comparisons generally make for little more than lazy journalism, but bear with me: Citrus is Radiohead’s darkly poetic, more restrained cousin, not nearly as headache-inducing as Muse, and blessed with the passion and ecstatic heights of Jeff Buckley.
Although the relatively acoustic environment highlighted the quality of their songwriting and accentuated the many lovely, lilting layers of sound, it left you wondering what Citrus might be like fully plugged in, dressed up and rocked out. There were hints of greatness in their performance at Karma Coffeehouse on this evening, true flashes of incandescence and the sense that something new, interesting and relevant was happening right before your eyes.
Near the end of the set, when Andreasson hypnotically intoned, "I’m in love with your potential," you would have been hard pressed to find a person in the audience who didn’t echo the sentiment.
Citrus’ io is currently available. For more information, visit www.citrucide.com