For a Norway-born and relatively new artist, Mikhael Paskalev sure feels familiar. Chalk it up to those Hollywood looks or Risky Business-like confidence, but the guy seems downright American. And while it's not his first time in the U.S., Paskalev is making his formal introduction of sorts with his recently released North American debut EP, Sayonara Saigon.
Isthmus was lucky enough to be part of this first impression with this latest performance in our Live Sessions series, and we were treated with a set that felt right at home for a musician who got his start playing Eagles covers in European biker bars with his Bulgarian father.
Paskalev opened with the crescendoing "Hey, Joseph" from 2013's What's Life Without Losers, complete with one of the least "bro"-y utterances of "brosef" ever known. The twangy, as-yet-unreleased "Bad Boy" followed but only after good guy Paskalev made sure everyone could hear him. After a brief break to express how much he loved the Lake Louie Warped Speed we had on hand, Paskalev closed the set with "Susie," a track loaded with the imagery of an unattainable rural ideal usually found in pop-country music videos.
All three songs revel in a balladic individualism of America through the lens of a faraway place and time -- one that Paskalev, bearing James Dean airs, Americana sensibility and an untraceable accent, clearly appreciates. Let's hope the beer helped express how much we did, too.