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Ida Maria at North Star Bar 6/15/09


It’s a daunting experience, watching Ida Maria climb the North Star Bar’s small stage.Ida Maria

Since 2007, the 25-year-old Norwegian punk rocker has been the talk of some controversy. Once in Sweden, she drunkenly attempted a backwards somersault on stage, resulting in broken ribs. During the first tour for her debut album “Fortress Round My Heart”, she got into a fight with another band’s lead singer and has since garnered a reputation for being the drunkest Scandinavian touring the world. SPIN Magazine even once claimed that Maria drinks wine “by the bottle, not the glass."

Basically, we’re ready for anything to happen.

She keeps to herself during the opening acts, ordering food and
standing against a wall chewing a quesadilla. Before performing, she
walks through the crowd of fans (many of whom will later scream, “I
love you!” in between songs), looking straight ahead, speaking to no
one. No one acknowledges her, either.

Once on stage, she tells the small but enthusiastic crowd about her
initial impressions of Philadelphia. “You guys are crazy. I like it."
She tries to remember a TV show taking place in Philadelphia she
watched before she came, but can’t.

Her songs are full of angst and anger – or at least as angry as a
25-year-old girl can get, screaming during "Forgive Me" (the second
song of the night), “I call you to say I love you/You only call me
when you’re drunk." Everyone seems to like it, or at least understands
where she's coming from.

“How does it feel to have four Vikings in the room?” she asks at the
halfway point to cheers and raised cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon. Though
she’s backed by a band of three men, none of them say a word.

Throughout the show, she teases us, throwing her arms in the air,
slowly belly-dancing and laughing during the few slow melodies of
songs like “Keep Me Warm”, which she says is about friendship. A
six-foot-something guy next to me holds up his PBR pounder after the
song’s explanation and yells, “That’s why we’ve got this!” I have no
idea what he’s talking about. His girlfriend laughs and hugs him.

Maria's last song before an encore of “We Are All Going To Hell” is a
long rendition of sophomore hit, “Oh My God”, a tune once featured on
the ABC show “Grey’s Anatomy”. She almost falls over herself toward
the end, screaming the repetitive chorus with her raspy, throaty voice
until there’s nothing left. “Oh my God,” she screams. “Do you think
I’m in control?/Oh my God/Do you think it’s all for fun?”

Respectfully: No. Yes.