Jens Lekman at The Echo in Echo Park, CA | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
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Jens Lekman

Jens Lekman at The Echo in Echo Park, CA, May 28th, 2009

Jun 05, 2009 Web Exclusive
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A revew, in which, a writer tries to curtail her fan-girl tendencies long enough to construct cohesive concert recap.

“I have a naïve request,” said Swedish troubadour Jens Lekman, looking down at group of adoring Los Angelinos after a years’ absence from the city. “You can record and take video all you want, but please don’t post it on the Internet. I want this to be special…just between you and me.”

I for one am willing to argue that every time Lekman takes the stage it is truly a special event—illicit Youtube performance videos be damned. I first “discovered” his music two years ago while attending a festival in Lekman’s native Sweden. Aided with the help of a mysterious, drink-buying interpreter, I immediately fell for his boy-next-door musical charm and (assumed witty) stage banter. As my new friend’s interpretations devolved from a word-to-word recap to a more generalized “he’s making a joke now,” (thanks dude) my idealized, fan-girl love grew. It is important to note that I’m also the sort of girl who aspires to date Duckie from Pretty In Pink.

This time around, the jokes were in English, the drinks non-existent (I’m driving…thanks though) and the musician that friends and family have, embarrassingly, taken to calling my “Swedish boyfriend,” was every inch the charming performer I’d remembered.

While content to play the dreamy-eyed also-ran poet in song, setting himself up as the butt of the joke on a hysterical, verbally embellished version of “Postcard to Nina,” it’s clear that when it comes to performing, Lekman’s relatable charm leaves him in full control of his audience. Whether it’s guiding them though a coordinated sing-along on live rarity “Kanske Ar Jag Kar i Dig,” effortlessly interjecting a refrain of The Beach Boys’ “Do You Wanna Dance” into “Maple Leaves,” and dropping everything for a brief airplane-like run around the stage, (I’d say you had to be there…but seriously, where were you?) they were ready to accept and follow him anywhere. At one point, Lekman requested more monitor, so he could hear his “beautiful voice,” a phrase dripping with unspoken self-deprecation. However, between the a capella opening of “I’m Leaving You Because I Don’t Love You” and a solo version of “Shirin” there were precious few in the house ready to believe his “ah shucks” act.  This guy can play, preen, and poetize.

In addition to staples from his 2007 release Night Falls Over Kortedala Lekman worked in several yet-to-be-recorded songs in his set including: the recently written, homage-heavy, “Summer Never Ends,” “New Directions,” a song about the Google directions that lead him away from his old life in Gothenburg (“If you follow these directions backwards you end up in a very sad place”) and “The End of the World is Bigger Than Love” about gaining perspective, and quite possibly, the recent American elections. (I’ll leave other blogs to argue significance of that particular piece of national perspective.) However, while these new songs were carried off with his trademark aplomb, it was really the word-heavy, Paul Simon-like “Argument With Myself” that left me aching for his next album.

The night ended with Lekman kneeling before his fans, singing an ode to what he thought was the memory of a meeting between himself and the queen of Sweden “Silvia”—a memory that, after writing the song, he learned from his mother was, in fact, a vivid dream. Thankfully, his performance at The Echo was 100% real.

Set List:

1. Summer Never Ends (new song)
2. Into Eternity
3. Sipping on the Sweet
4. New Directions (new song)
5. Tram # 7
6. Your Arms Around Me
7. Argument With Myself (new song)
8. The End of the World is Bigger than Love (new song)
9. I’m Leaving You Because I Don’t Love You
10. Opposite of Hallelujah
11. Kanske Ar Jah Kar i Dig
12. Postcard to Nina
13. Maple Leaves
14. Shirin

Encore #1

15. Sweet Summer’s Night on Hammer Hill

Encore #2

16. Silva



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Heathrow Airport Parking
September 8th 2009

Have you ever considered adding more videos to your blog posts to keep the readers more entertained? I mean I just read through the entire article of yours and it was quite good but since I’m more of a visual learner,I found that to be more helpful well let me know how it turns out! I love what you guys are always up too. Such clever work and reporting! Keep up the great works guys I’ve added you guys to my blogroll. This is a great article thanks for sharing this informative information.. I will visit your blog regularly for some latest post.

July 15th 2010

Thanks for this!