Review: Little Dragon at London's Village Underground
Little Dragon give us a night full of surprises, with the promise of even greater things to come...
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You'd be forgiven for thinking you'd never heard of Little Dragon. But you'd definitely have heard their collaborative efforts on Gorillaz's Plastic Beach, and they also popped up on Big Boi's 2012 solo debut. And with SBTRKT and DJ Shadow hook-ups under their belt, it's safe to say that this Swedish four-piece get around.
While Little Dragon may not receive the wall-to-wall radio airplay their infectious RnB pop deserves, they have amassed a huge online presence - with legions of fans partial to their jazzy electro-funk perfection and an abundance of rave reviews. With their fourth LP Nabuma Rubberband coming in May 2014, our anticipation for their sold-out Village Underground gig couldn't be higher.
We arrive to see the warehouse venue jam-packed with sweatily excitable devotees. A rushed visit to the bar ensues, and the band ascend to the stage amidst swirling arpeggiated synths and blue lights. Front-woman Yukimi Nagano acts as ringmaster, serving up pure Japanese martian-pop-vixen realness.
We're thrown straight into My Step from 2011's breakthrough Machine Dreams. A signature song, mixing retro Prince-style drum machines and squelchy filtered synth stabs with melancholy, celestial delicacy. Your feet wanna dance, but your heart wants to split in two. Either way, your soul laps it up - and as Nagano prowls the stage, her body mirroring the beats through inspired mime and vogue-like movement, you are at their total mercy.
Fan favourite Ritual Union sees the biggest cheer of the night, sending the crowd into funk-induced chaos. Comeback single Klapp Klapp is a mesmerising highlight, with a pounding frantic beat and apocalyptic bass synthesisers that sounds unlike any of their illustrious canon. An encore ends with a fierce and relentless house workout, and against our will the house lights are on and we are ushered out.
Full of surprises, 2014 sees a Little Dragon refined and at the height of their powers - perfectly in tune with their originality and pop sensibilities yet continuing to break new mould.