Sunday, May 17, 2009

loney dear @ spaceland

There are few ills in life that Emil Svanängen's (a.k.a. the driving force behind Loney Dear) sweet voice cannot cure. I offer this, not as a point of discussion, but as a simple statement of fact. Last night at Spaceland was all the empirical evidence one needs. (Of course, his four five-album catalog also helps. edit: geeks can't count. It's true.)

From set opener "Everything Turns to You" to encore closer "Dear John," (both songs from latest album, Dear John) Loney Dear, who earned a standing ovation opening for Andrew Bird earlier this year, clearly had the audience in the palm of their hand -- so much in fact, that when Svanängen asked for a volunteer to restring his guitar (shredded during the opener in an aggressive, all-or-nothing playing style that would continue though the night), one quickly rose to the occasion. Unwilling to stop the rock, Svanängen, much to his audience's continued delight, guided his ad-hoc guitar tech to the location of spare strings via an on-the-fly giggled-lyrical rewrite of "Harsh Words." Charming.

In between songs, we were treated to a recap of the perils that four Scandinavian musicians face while negating peculiarities of the English language. From the slippery "z" sounds in "cheeseburger" (personally, I recommend the veggie burger), to our fear of the metric system, it's a lot to take in one tour. In regards to our incomprehensible units of measurement, Svanängen offered the following evaluation whist taking a mid-set water break:

Svanängen: I've tried to learn the English measuring system. But what's a fl. oz? Do you even know what a fl.oz. is?"

Silence. (In what I assume was reckless contemplation.)

Svanängen: I think I just drank a half a gallon!

While engaging the audience with musical tricks similar to their previous LA performance -- an intimate microphone-free rendition of "I Love You" and rousing sing-along with "The Meter Marks OK," the performance never came off as canned or insincere, as both performers and three-quarter-filled club seemed mutually engaged and charmed with each other. At the end of well-deserved encore, a clearly exhausted band took their final bows, Svanängen promising, "I'll see, soon."

Soon? I hope so.

mp3: "Airport Surroundings" by Loney Dear
mp3: "I Am John (live)" by Loney Dear
mp3: "Ignorant Boy, Beautiful Girl" by Loney Dear


Anonymous said...

five-album catalog:

The Year of River Fontana
Citadel Band
Loney Noir
Dear John

Terry said...

I went to the show in Portland at the Doug Fir last Thursday and it was amazing!