Saturday, October 3, 2009

loney dear @ the troubadour

For the record: I'm not stalking Loney Dear
(a.k.a. Emil Svanängen). But if he's going to insist on playing Los Angeles three times in any given year--once as a supporting act for another great artist, and once at my favorite club--before returning a third time with a notable opener of his own...well, I fail to see the downside of going for the trifecta.

First off was the sock-of-nickels sonic assault of Asobi Seksu. Despite demonstrating just how poorly balanced the Troubadour sound system was, and hypnotizing the audience with strobe lights on nearly every song (as my friend--who shall henceforth be known as "The Option Behind the Curtain"--helpfully pointed out, "If you mark every e-mail as urgent, none of them are."), they also managed to embody a surprising amount of shoegaze charm. Lead woman Yuki Chikudate's pure pop voice transcended the din, its delicious displacement elevating Asobi Seksu above the majority of their dream-pop contemporaries.

After Asobi Seksu's wall of noise, even the loyal (read: me) begun to wonder if Svanängen could match the energy and intensity of his opener.

Let's take a moment for a self-evaluation: Umm...Duh.

For those who chose to stick around, Svanängen and his four piece band (who also backed the first opener of the evening Anna Ternheim) once again proved that sincerity is the new irony. From his addressing the audience as "my friends" when first taking the stage, to a sincere "thank you for the wonderful evening" (no--thank you!) , Svanängen proved to be the sort of indie-rock poster boy you only wish you could bring home to meet your parents. (Sufjan, please take note.)

Musically, the Loney Dear collective was--as per usual--spot on. As "The Opinion Behind the Curtain" aptly described their style: "you can't have a crystalline voice without a crescendo." Live, this is--without a doubt--the musical personification of joy.

By the time each song--guided by Svanängen's sweet voice--swelled to a dramatic climax, you could feel the band's glee permeate the venue. Or was that just me? Svanängen has noted several times that his latest album Dear John is a work predicated on sadness. Regardless, by the end of the set--largely comprised of Dear John material--you'd be hard-pressed to find someone without a smile.

Set List:

1. I Was Only Going Out
2. Everything Turns to You
3. Summers
4. Under a Silent Sea
5. The Meter Marks Okay
6. Carrying a Stone
7. Take it Back
8. I Fought the Battle of Trinidad & Tobago
9. Hard Day’s


10. Airport Surroundings
11. Shivering Green
12. Sinister in a State of Hope
13. Dear John

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


tricia said...

hi. i'm from trinidad and tobago, while searching for vids on youtube i came across this song. i think its great but i dont understand the title. you seem to be a big fan. :). do you have any ideas about this?

tricia said...

sorry, the song i was referring to was 'i fought the battle of trinidad and tobago'