Live gig review from Heaven last night. Heaven, the place on earth.
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For many people Sweden is Abba, porn and Ikea furniture, which is an alright combination for a night in alone, but Sweden is also home to an uninhibited world of glorious music which rarely gets the attention it deserves. Jens Lekman is someone at the forefront of this – we’ve known about his talent for years and last night’s performance at Heaven only existed to further solidify him as the Scandinavian genius he is.
Jens’ music is perhaps often grandiose, but we mean this is the nicest way – he is certainly not one to shy away from samples, strings and brass but tonight is low-key, almost acoustic – it’s Jens, his guitar and old friend Addison Rogers on drums. Alright, admittedly there are samples towards the end of the set but we promise that it’s beautiful instead of tacky.
New song Every Little Hair is chosen as the opener and the audience is mesmerised. It’s often hard trying out new material live but with lyrical prowess such as this it’s not a problem at all. Jens then introduces Waiting For Kirsten, a song about trying to meet Kirsten Dunst, who once mentioned him in an interview. She arrived in Jens’ hometown of Gothenburg and he quips “What else can a potato chip factory boy like me do, but manically stalk her through the night?”
The audience sing along and cheer as Jens plays classics such as Julie and The Opposite Of Halleluiah but is hauntingly silent when, eyes closed, he performs a stunning rendition of Black Cab. It’s as if Jens is able to control the audience volume with a simple opening chord.
Jens gets increasingly more joyful and less nonchalant as the night progresses and during Sipping On The Sweet Nectar runs around the stage; arms outstretched, pretending to be a plane, and it’s so endearing to watch. Soon after, he triumphantly cheers “Welcome to Heaven!” before running to the front of the stage, twirling, and tossing confetti at the crowd. By this point the audience are full of so much energy and love that it’s clear that they could probably finish the gig themselves.
Jens & Addison walk offstage and the crowd couldn’t be shouting louder for them to return, the boys play a couple more songs including an acoustic cover of Ten City’s That’s The Way Love Is and they even incorporate a chorus sample of 70’s hit Give Me Just A Little More Time before leaving again. The audience begs for a second encore, a request Jens is more than happy to comply with, he returns this time without his drummer. He strums a little on his guitar and explains that it’s been a while since he played this live, and feels that it seems right to resurrect Postcard To Nina, a song which tells the marvellously true story of how he pretended to be someone’s boyfriend so she could stay with her girlfriend – a relationship she can’t admit to due to her father’s Catholicism.
The song’s final line “Don’t let anyone stand in your way!” is belted out by the audience as if it’s their own personal anthem before they erupt into a battle-cry of applause, Jens bows and asks the audience to “take care of yourselves” before exiting, leaving behind an air of intense love and honesty sincerity. It’s clear why he’s still playing and making music – he’s doing what he loves.
Jens’ new single An Argument With Myself
Words: Echo Carnell