posted on May 28, 2008 03:24
Jens Lekman (live in The Village, Dublin)
Review Snapshot: Jens Lekman returned to Ireland to play the last date on his tour. An excellent gig from one of indie pop’s greatest performers.
The Cluas Verdict? 8 out of 10
Last December, Jens Lekman played to an adoring crowd in Whelan’s. It was just him and his percussionist, with a cameo from Owen Pallett (better known as Final Fantasy). That gig stands out for me as the best live experience of 2007. It finished with Lekman and Pallett playing a final 5 songs in the alley way beside Whelan’s.
On Sunday night, he returned. This time he played next door at The Village. The place was crowded and there was an air of expectancy. Obviously, word had spread even further due to both his last performance, and his spectacular latest album, ‘Night Falls Over Kortedala’. As promised, he brought a full band this time.
He opened with “I’m Leaving You Because I Don’t Love You”. Thanks to his accompaniment on bass, cello, violin and drums this time, the sound was much fuller and slick than his last visit. His voice was in fine form once again. The control he has over his voice can only really be appreciated live. It is flawless. The setlist consisted of nearly all of ‘Night Falls Over Kortedala’ interspersed with a few of his older tracks.
Lekman began ‘Black Cab’ by telling the story of a Turkish fan who approached him after a show disappointed that Jens had not played the song that goes: 'dooooo dooo’. Like the majority of the gig, ‘Black Cab’ was a splendid celebration of joyous pop. His performance of ‘Friday Night At The Drive-In Bingo’ was possibly the happiest song I’ve ever seen played live. The horn section used on the record was replaced with a violin, which added another dimension to the song. Lekman commented that he felt it brought out the innocence of the song.
Jens Lekman is probably the funniest musician I’ve ever seen. I don’t think I’ve laughed so much at a gig before. His wit shows in both his lyrics and his on-stage banter. For the past couple of years he’s opened ‘A Postcard To Nina’ with the tale of how he visited his lesbian friend in Berlin, who had told her father that she was engaged to Jens, in order to hide her secret from him, before launching into song.
After just over an hour, he finished with a beautiful solo rendition of ‘Sirin’. It was a superb gig and Jens is a fantastic performer. However, it did not live up to the standards of his Whelan’s performance. It probably never could have. There was a bit more intimacy at that gig. The crowd were adoring that time where as they seemed colder in The Village, rarely joining in to sing. Only ‘Sweet Summer’s Night On Hammer Hill’ could get them to come out of their shell a bit. Sunday just was not special in the way that night in December was.