Fri 4 Apr – Jens Lekman, The Honeydrips
Saw Jens Lekman
with (at least part of) The Honeydrips
at the Dise last Friday. The burning thought that has stayed with me since that night was this sort of show really is a rarity for me. Since rediscovering my passion for music, I have been to a lot of concerts, but that night was really something special. It is so rare to see a conert that is so moving and so uplifting, and this was a perfect example of such a show. Without a doubt one of the best ones I've been to.
Honeydrips opened, although something was clearly up, as they were running on half of the usual (wo)man-power. With just one member, it was an incredibly stripped down gig. The male member (no idea on names) had all of the music playing out through is Mac, and stuck to simply holding Jens guitar as more of a safety blanket than anything. All the problems aside, he put on a very good short (~30 minute set) of some lovely little Swedish pop songs. Nothing expectionally remarkable, so I won't exactly dwell on it. However, a pleasent warm up for the amazing specatle to come.
Jens was on next, rocking a slightly stripped down band compared to the last tour. He sang and played guitar and keys. He was backed by 2 Swedish girls playing bass and drums, 2 female Americans on chello and violin and a Swedish dude playing DJ for the night. While smaller, everyone was very talented and meshed together perfectly. Set list (as far I could tell) is as follows:
I've Leaving You (Because I Don't Love You)
The Opposite of Hallelejah
A Sweet Summer's Night on Hammer Hill
It Strange Time in My Life
Your Arms Around Me
New Directions (New song)
You Are The Light (by Which I Travel Into This and That)
A Postcard to Nina
Sipping on the Sweet Necatar
A Higher Power
A Little Lost (Arthur Russell
Friday Night At the Drive-In Bingo
Pocketful of Money
The first few songs were total powerhouses. It is remarkable to see just how into it the entire band was. From a mini-song sample/dance break in "Opposite" to everyone bouncing to the heartbeats in "Hammer Hill" to everyone running around the stage like airplanes in "Nectar" everyone right down to the stoic DJ seemed like there was nowhere else they would rather be. This sort of passion and geniune fun is hard to find in bands, at least the ones I have seen. I have never seen so much raw energy and enjoyment quite the way I did that night.
What also really shines live is the stage prescence that Lekman brings. He is such a funny person, and all of his between song banter had the crowd in stiches. The high point of the main set was "Nina" which ran almost 10 minutes, and the song switched off between the verses and the hilarious story that the song is based off of. He is an amazing story teller and songs like this help him shed the "Swedish Stephin Merritt
" label he is often saddled with. This fantastic show would get bumped to the next level once the encore kicked in.
The whole band (sans DJ) came back out and launched into a lush version of "A Higher Power" after which the bass player and drummer left. Armed with just his string section, Lekman moved to some obscure African instrument (complete with a funny story about airport security and wikipedia) and did a beautiful version of Arthur Russell's "A Little Lost". Once that was done the string section left and Lekman treated us to encore number 2.
After a stripped down version of "Shirin", Jens asked if we could fill in for saxaphone on "Friday Night at the Drive-In Bingo". So a packed Paradise whistled and clapped along to his quirky tales of life in Sweden. He ended on "Pocketful of Money" which had more auidence interaction. We all snapped, clapped and whistled our way into the sunset. Afterwards, an incredibly humble and appreciative Jens thanked us all and brought out his DJ to play a short set for us. Sadly, neither my legs nor my girlfriend's could take any more standing and we headed out.
The energy that Jens and friends brings to their shows is infectious to say the very least. It was all I could do to keep from skipping down Commonwealth Ave. on my way back to the car. As lame as it sounds it is very true. For how sincerely flattered he seemed for all of us coming, it was us who should be the flattered ones. I had only found out about Jens when "Night Falls Over Kortadala" blew up, but I feel like I have personally known him for a long time now. That is the sort of emotion he is able to convey through his music and general presence. I have never left a show and felt so happy and fufilled as I did on that chilly Friday night. A truely memorable experience that I would urge everyone to try and take part in and one I can't wait to repeat again next time he graces us with his presence.