After puppies, pleasant surprises are my favourite. Passenger is just that.
After the break-up of Passenger, the band that Mike Rosenberg founded, in 2007, Rosenberg opted to keep the name deciding to go the solo route with just his voice and his guitar for company. Sold out shows and the success of his album All the Little Lights now clear indicators that his new path was the right one.
He has the gift of the gab when it comes to idle busker banter, lots of interaction and unusual heckling from the love-fuelled crowd. Girls shouting “I love you” literally any time there is a lull. The bashful Rosenberg doesn’t quite know how to react to these declarations, so he just goes back to what he does best, playing his songs, like breakthrough hit ‘Let Her Go,’ and pleasing the packed-out Vicar Street.
He owns the stage, just himself coupled with some simple lanterns on stage, and nothing to distract from his gorgeously smooth voice. Some aspects to his folk and guitar playing style echoe Ben Howard’s soulful and sincere song-writing. He sings a new track called ‘Whispers,’ which silences the crowd (who keep the room illuminated and documented with smartphones ). He also pleases with renditions of ‘I Knew You Were Trouble’ and Haddaway’s ‘What is Love’.
As a musical grafter his songs are full of hardship and heartbreak – ten years of bands and break-ups, have left him humbled. He admits himself he never thought when he was writing depressing songs in Australia that he’d be hearing a packed venue singing them back. Rosenberg’s hard work is the catalyst of this success, the tour helping him to garner the deserved attention of the masses, and he’s earned himself a huge following. Songs like ‘27’ showcase the efforts of his journey.
He ends the show with an awkward track he and Ed Sheeran dueted on. It is sullen and underwhelming butnfollowed by a no-holds-barred rendition of ‘Holes,’ which gets the entire crowd joined stomping and clapping. The show finishes at a reasonable hour, mostly likely because the majority of the crowd has school tomorrow.