Jens Lekman Setlist
Mar. 11 – Detroit, MI @ Magic Stick
Mar. 13 @ Toronto, ON @ The Great Hall
Mar. 15 – Boston, MA @ Brighton Music Hall
Mar. 16 – Washington, DC @ U Street Music Hall
Mar. 17 – Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer
Mar. 18 – New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom
Mar. 19 – Brooklyn, NY @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
Mar. 20 – Brooklyn, NY @ Rough Trade
Mar. 28 – Dublin, IE @ Whelans
Mar. 29 – London, UK @ Oval Space
Mar. 30 – Leeds, UK @ Brudenell Social Club
Mar. 31 – Manchester, UK @ Band on the Wall
Apr. 1 – Glasgow, UK @ St. Luke’s Church
Apr. 3 – Stockholm, SE @ Vasateatern
Apr. 4 – Uppsala, SE @ Uppsala Konsert
Apr. 5 – Malmo, SE @ KB
Apr 6 – Copenhagen, DK @ Studie 2
Apr. 7 – Orebro, SE @ Orebro Concert Hall
Apr. 8 – Gothenburg, SE @ Pustervik
Apr. 9 – Oslo, NO @ John Dee
Apr. 10 – Gothenburg, SE @ Pustervik
Opening the show was Portland, Maine’s Lisa/Liza. Normally the band is a trio (Liza Victoria, Jonathan Downs, and Devin Ivy), but for these recent live shows, it is just Liza and Jonathan. The lo-fi, folky band sat down for the entire set, playing songs from their “newish” album Deserts of Youth (Orindal Records).
The soft-spoken Liza mentioned that this was their first time in Minneapolis, as they launched into their set with ‘Wander’. Liza’s moody, subdue vocal style reminded me of softer Beth Orton or a Cat Power.
Lisa/Liza’s music would be perfect for an NPR audience (at the Cedar Cultural Center or Hopkins Art Center), rather than a noisy bar/café of the Fine Line. On top of that, the sightlines are not great the venue, so having the both of them sitting down made it hard to watch the band if you’re stuck in the back of the room.
Jonathan left the stage to let Liza close out her brief 30-min set with ‘Prospect St’ and ‘Century Woods’.
Jens Lekman is one of the best songwriters working today; his work is often compared to Stephin Merritt. Fortunately, Lekman’s singing style are more forgiving (especially if you’re not into baritone vocals).
With Life Will See You Now, the theme seems to be little stories based on people’s lives. Lekman liken it to something of a psychiatrist as he listens and analyzes a patient’s story.... instead of just writing sad, depressing songs about himself (even he confessed it was making him sick and ill to see half-filled rooms when he was on his I Know What Love Isn’t - an album all about himself).
So he decided to write songs about other people, and in 2014 his “Postcards” project was born. Lekman wrote a song a week, but using the postcards as a small canvas for his work. Lyrically, they’re all based on his fans’ stories. We previously seen other musicians do this sort of “song portraits”, such as Momus’ Stars Forever project, but never in such a long and large output. To date, Lekman has out all 68 song “postcards” available for streaming on his website.
By limiting Lekman’s ability to rhyme and choosing the right lyrics on a small postcard, he unintentionally wrote one of the best pop album. Musically, it’s also really good, it’s not all acoustic guitars, Lekman is experimenting with piano and violins (which will come later in his show).
As for the show, Lekman took the stage right on schedule, playing ‘To Know Your Mission’ and ‘Evening Prayer’. The latter song is about “a friend with a tumor” according to Lekman. He smiled and laughed and said that he absolutely loved growing up with old friends and familiar faces (as he saw plenty of familiar fans in the audience). You got the impression that many of these fans will stick around after the show to personally talk or thank Lekman.
Speaking of friends, his band shortly came on stage to help Lekman play the rest of his set, starting with ‘What's That Perfume That You Wear?’ For the Minneapolis show, he also invited a local violinist (Emma), who is currently teaching music at the American Swedish Institute, to play on ‘Hotwire the Ferris Wheel’.
Jens Lekman’s Life Will See You Now is out now on Secretly Canadian.
Jens Lekman at Fine Line Music Cafe, Minneapolis (08 Mar 2017)