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El Perro Del Mar

El Perro Del Mar, Taken By Trees

El Perro del Mar and Taken By Trees at The Troubadour, Los Angeles, CA, March 3, 2010, March 3rd, 2010

Mar 05, 2010 El Perro Del Mar Bookmark and Share

The thing about opening bands is, they rarely serve their intended purpose. Sure an act comes out, plays a mini set, and endures audience neglect and outright abuse in the name of hocking a few t-shirts and EPs, but as far as serving as a delicious appetizer to the musical main course to follow? Nine times out of ten you’re better off cruising the bar for attractive singles, or more practically, earplugs. Maybe that’s why the combination of co-headliners El Perro del Mar and Taken by Tress make such a shockingly successful paring. Both are thoughtful female singer/songwriters from Sweden with slightly off-kilter vocals, the only question is: what took them so long?

First off was Taken By TreesVictoria Bergsman to her friends. Starting off the set was a brief video that detailed the musician’s struggles to record her sophomore album East of Eden in Pakistan rather than her native Sweden. It was a local that influenced her entire performancefrom the video visuals to performing reworked eastern-flavored cuts off debut album Open Field.

The passion project also appears to have done notoriously shy Bergsman a world of personal good. While previous trips though LA have seen her nervously playing with her jewelry and clothes, fumbling with a water bottle, and turning her back to the audience more than facing them, this time she seemed nearly at easefooling around with a tambourine, taking small sips of her glass of wine, and attempting small talk with crowd between songs; bells affixed to her ankles jingling wildly. “Do you have a word for “Wednesday?” she asked, searching for the proper American slang for “hump day.” “In Sweden we call them ‘Small Saturdays.’” The audience was quick to assure Bergsman she had made their “Small Saturday” complete.

After a brief break, El Perro del Mar (aka Sarah Assbring) came out swinging, determined to demonstrate that Lykke Li isn’t Sweden’s only dancing queen. Wearing a jumpsuit that on a mere mortal would be featured on What Not to Wear, and sporting a voice that sounded like the embodiment of 1980s heartbreak, her ethereal stage persona instantly won over the crowded venue. “I had my heart broken in Los Angeles.” She revealed. “I wrote ‘L is for Love’ because of it,” quickly reassuring us, “I’m not saying that to get pity.”

Despite often sounding like Marilyn Monroe mining depths of sorrow so deep she’d consider killing herself if she weren’t having so much fun, it definitely wasn’t a night for pity. Assbring kept the songs rolling, effortlessly switching from dancing, to tambourine, to guitar, covering the majority of new album Love is Not Pop along the way. (Love, as it turns out, is nothing like popmore like a series of torch songs to the ghosts of breakups past.) To the audience’s delight, she also included a cover of The xx’s “Shelter,” her reach far extending the original’s sleepy grasp.

Perhaps the only argument that can be made about the evening is that by splitting headlining duties, neither lady got the time on stage she truly deserved. The again, isn’t that always the case? With headliners this strong, who needs opening acts?

Taken By Trees set list:

1. To Loose Someone

2. Cedar Trees

3. Greyest Love of All

4. My Boys (Animal Collective cover)

5. Anna

6. Too Young

7. Day By Day

8. Lost and Found

9. Watch the Waves

El Perro del Mar set list:

1. Let Me In

2. Change of Heart

3. L is For Love

4. Party

5. Gotta Get Smart

6. It is Something (To Have Wept)

7. A Better Love

8. Shelter (The xx cover)

9. Heavenly Arms




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Peter Quincy Ng
March 7th 2010

Read my similar endeavors in Toronto, Canada with Assbring and Bergsman.


May 11th 2011

I bow down hulbmy in the presence of such greatness.