Little Dragon, Shepherd's Bush Empire
Take a bow, Damon Albarn. He's not
actually on stage, but he may well be the reason a good portion of the crowd has
Albarn featured Little Dragon on the last Gorillaz album, where Yukimi Nagano's close knit vocals and their layers of shimmering synths commanded attention. The next album by the Swedish electro-pop outfit, this summer's Ritual Union, turned flickerings of interest into confirmed fires of enthusiasm.
Their music has a clipped precision, the compressed energy of a tightly coiled spring. A five piece, they all seem to be making beats, all the time: on drum kits, with odd bits of percussion, tapping away at multiple – and multi-coloured - drum pads, and swept along with natty keyboard and bounding bass lines. Sometimes, that little traditional musicianship and that many electronic gizmos can be dull live. But Little Dragon have an engaging frontwoman in Nagano, even if her Swedish-Japanese vocals stylings are more of the hip, icy-cool variety than the technically impressive. The group also take sufficient detours on their radio-friendly hits, pumping them up into sprawling, pulsating live versions.
They offer familiar numbers from early on: single 'Ritual Union' is the second track. It's been one of my songs of the year, with its frankly addictive whoosh of synth. I keep putting it on to dance to at parties, and it's pleasing to see some wide-armed moves and shapes from Nagano.
Not that the crowd follows suit: perhaps it's a bit soon for such expansiveness (many people are still holding drinks, which flailing does imperil). It's not till 'Summertearz', a good eight songs in, that a spark ignites the audience. Little Dragon take a ploddy album track and render it totally exuberant: sharp, seductive, unstoppably building into a big clubby number.
They'd still like more, though – they clearly know how to party in Gothenberg. “My dad is here tonight, he better dance,” quips Nagano, before admonishing the rest of us: “come on you guys, a little movement.” She almost conducts the audience, getting hands in the air, as we move into unashamed dance anthem territory.
It all makes for a very enjoyable gig experience, reaching an apex on 'Little Man'. With a fast-running rhythm, a wriggly melody, and Nagano's crisp delivery, anyone whose hips aren't at least twitching should probably be checked for vital signs. Fiery stuff.
Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'music
Review: Cilla, ITV TV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 'The Fappening': Rihanna 'nude pictures' claims emerge on 4Chan as hacking scandal continues
- 2 Frank Lampard equalises for Manchester City against Chelsea: how the internet reacted
- 3 Stamford Hill council removes 'unacceptable' posters telling women which side of the road to walk down
- 4 Kim Kardashian 'nude pictures' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence 'The Fappening' scandal
- 5 Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
Downton Abbey series 5, episode 1, review: Revolution still seems far off
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written
Friends 20th anniversary: The highs and lows of the cast's careers since TV series ended in 2004
Downton Abbey series 5, episode 1, ITV, review: There’s revolution in the air, but one lady’s not for turning
Foo Fighters: 2015 tour dates announced for Sonic Highways
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Plebgate MP Andrew Mitchell called officer a 'little s**t', claim court documents 'exposing ex-Chief Whip's 'record of abusing police'
Hilary Mantel 'should be investigated by police' over Margaret Thatcher assassination story, says Lord Bell
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God