Image swiped from Last.fm, in turn swiped from their CD.
For an hour last night at the Elbo Room, Little Dragon was the greatest band in the world.
Well, my new favorite band right now, at least. Their 2007 debut album on Peacefrog (it’s also available on iTunes, by the way) is just the right kind of sublime — an effortless downtempo RnB simmer, one of my favorites this year so far — and their absolutely tight playing last night, at their very first U.S. concert ever, confirmed this.
Little Dragon is a band, first of all, and this is even clearer in concert. (All those tricky drum fills are performed live.) But there’s no denying the fact that Yukimi Nagano’s voice — wonderfully wispy, soulfully expressive — is the real draw. She’s also totally riveting to watch on stage, especially when she seems to lose herself in the music, dancing and twisting just before she begins to sing.
They started the set off with “Twice”. The last three songs were “Constant Surprises” (right before the encore), “Wink”, and “Scribbled Paper” (about one of their favorite poets from Gothenburg).
“Test”, of course, was somewhere in there. So was a ridiculously funky “Recommendation” (prompting an echo of “Recommendation” from the crowd during the chorus, all embellished with fluty keyboards and major hi-hat action), a slinky “Forever” (that “ha ha ha ho ho” refrain towards the end was even better live), “Turn Left” (and yes, the crowd was singing along to the “pa pa ra ro pa ra pa” refrain at the end as well), “After the Rain” (is this song about Hurricane Katrina or something?), and a few songs (one called “Tendencies”, plus two new songs, “Roundabout” and “Looking Glass”) that I didn’t recognize.
Anyhow, as you folks can tell, I enjoyed the concert immensely. Only two U.S. dates left — Goleta tonight, Los Angeles on Friday — so catch ’em if they’re in your area! (Here’s a good idea of how they sound live — a concert recording at Cargo in London earlier this year.)
p.s. Eloise and I were dancing up front right next to the stage, even to the music played by the DJ in between sets. (Geraldine and Kennedy and Stephanie were somewhere in the middle.) At some point Eloise wonders out loud why there were only five other people dancing in the club. (Everyone else was doing the hipster nod, which Little Dragon parodies so wonderfully in the “Test” video.) “Probably because we’re from the East Bay,” I said. She turns around to ask the woman next to us where she was from. We were right.
p.s. 2. Sorry, Darren: I didn’t take any photos, though I was about three feet away from Yukimi’s toes.