Jens Lekman The Great Hall, Toronto ON April 8
Published Apr 28, 2008Tight connections with Torontos Wavelength concert series finally brought Swedens telltale troubadour to Canada after some visa snafus. A long-winded stall by (un)funnyman Doc Pickles made it all the more painful waiting for the Swede, who arrived with only a bongo player in tow. But Jens Lekman, ever the confident showman and unsuspecting guitar virtuoso, managed to have the capacity crowd eating out of his hand for the hour-long set. Assuming the role of storyteller, Lekman performed as much like an author at a public reading as he did a singer-songwriter. Showcasing the bulk of his recent album, Night Falls Over Kortedala, Jens immediately introduced his priceless "A Postcard to Nina routine, which includes a hilariously dry preamble about going to Berlin by bus instead of plane (the difference is 19 hours more and five Euros less) to play beard for his lesbian friend in front of her strict father, who feeds him "creepy German vegetarian food. With talented friend Stephanie Comilang dazzling on the overhead projector, the awkward scenes at dinner with Nina and her father were amusingly enacted with silhouettes. Owen Pallett, whose Final Fantasy performed earlier in the evening, joined Jens on violin for "You Are the Light, adding more textures to help flesh out the sentiment. Pallett came back out with Hidden Camera Maggie MacDonald for "The Opposite of Hallelujah, Jenss uplifting anthem that saw the entrance of a thumping backing track emphasised by the radiating strings, which brought another level of delight. The samples remained for the Tough Alliance-assisted "Im Leaving You Because I Dont Love You, which kept the hot stepping alive to close out the set. The night ended with the encore of "Shirin, an ode to his hairstylist that gently rocked onlookers out the door, and eventually down the street for an impromptu gig under a tree in the park. A magical, intimate night, but perhaps next time he can get visas for some musicians to tag along and fully realise his music.