Thursday, November 13, 2008

dungen @ the echo

I went into the Echo last night knowing a couple things about Dungen --

First: They are awesome. Their sweet sweet psychedelic rock has been haunting my apartment since I first got my grubby mitts on their latest album, “4” -- the review of which can be read here.

Second: they are Swedish. They have come to America as emissaries of awesome and chose Los Angeles to wrap up their North American tour. Any band that comes half-ways around the world to play for me gets bonus points – especially when they can lay down such an solid, mature sound.

What I didn't know going in but very quickly realized upon entering was they draw a huge crowd; there were people listening from the bathroom – and it's no wonder. Your fearless author managed to snag a spot just in front of the stage through much excusing and gentle shoving, and the work was well worth it. Their albums give you an idea of the incredibly varied, at times lilting at times wailing rock these guys are capable of -- but it just doesn't do them justice; Dungen is the kind of band you need to experience like I did last night – really loud and in a crowded venue whose air smells faintly of weed, greasy hair and beer... needless to say, it was really cool. Almost as soon as they started, a wave of acid-soaked awesome rushed over me; Awash in red lights, these long-haired and alarmingly thin men played a show that transported me to a seedy venue somewhere in the mid-seventies; an experience that almost made me forget I was being slowly suffocated and crushed by a crowd that would have driven even the most stalwart fire-Marshall to panic.

Said crowd needed no warming up – bobbing heads quickly became hoots and hollers – but it was when the tambourine came out I knew we were all in for a great time. Sporting enough energy to power a small town, front man Gustav Ejstes did a great job of getting the crowd riled up as he danced and jerked around the stage -- truly a wonderful performance of the infamous “hippie dance.”

At this, the final stop of their tour, Dungen decided to go out with a bang. I don't know how else to describe it Рit was just... loud, awesome, crazy, fun... a really a great rock show. They played a long and varied set Рbetween Gustav's flute solos and their whipping the crowd into a frenzy, the band did a great job of not being pinned down to one feel or tempo. Hard, tambourine shaking, head-banging psychedelic rock gave way into slower, contemplative and almost folk-inspired sounds Рall accomplished by drummer Fredrik Björling and the sweet tunes and voices of Guitarist Reine Fiske and bassist Mattias Gustavvson.

The sweet wailing of “Ingenting Ar Sig Likt” had the crowd rocking along to its gentle sounds, but everyone went nuts when Gustav picked up his flute and played the opening notes of “Mina Damer Och Fasaner,” a Dungen anthem. Who cares if you don't know what they're saying? It just sounds so... so cool. And when “Fredag” came up? Or “Det Tar Tid”? Forget about it, kid. Like I said, the Echo show unfortunately wrapped up Dungen's North American tour -- their next show is in Oslo, too far-afield for this mild-mannered would-be-hipster. No matter! Get thee to their website or myspace and check them out!

mp3: "Fredag" by Dungen
mp3: "Det Tar Tid" by Dungen


newcastle drunk said...

i have a big quetion brother, can u help? ok at that dungen at the echo show, before they hit the stage, the dj put a band in the speakers right before dungen performed, do u know what band that was? it was not the live band, i mean the one the dj put right just before dungens performance, can u help me know what band that waS? the name?
thanks man

L.A.R. said...

Sorry Friend -- I don't recall the song you're speaking of at all. I wasn't paying attention to the pre-dungen music -- I think I was trying to order a beer or something. Best of luck and cheers.

...Newcastle Rocks.