Monday, October 10, 2011

In Gothenburg We Don't Have VIP Lines

photo by Adeline Teh
Jens Lekman-"Waiting for Kristen

I saw Jens Lekman play at the Music Hall of Williamsburg on Sunday night, the first time I've seen him do a real show (I remember once going to see him do a DJ set and he briefly sang along to a few songs, and how I longed for more), and it was every bit as wonderful as I had hoped. Jens with his sweet face and his simple, charming Swedish ways, his anecdote about his missed opportunity to meet Kirsten Dunst when she was filming in Sweden, his sad and pretty pop songs, his nostalgia and innocence and broken-hearted wistfulness. 

Remarkable, how totally and completely Jens won the entire audience over, how his double encores were genuinely demanded, how engaged and happy everyone seemed throughout his entire set. And a moving, beautiful rendition of "Pocketful of Money" that featured the crowd on harmonies, and how perfect, for a room full of strangers to snap the beat and sing the same refrain--"I've been running with a heart on a fire" to the end of the song, to silence except for Jens's voice. 

And, for me, to hear his acoustic version of "Black Cab," a song I clung to on certain tearful drunken nights, with those opening notes and that familiar chorus, the disappointment and self loathing so prettily wrapped up, that sense of giving in, giving up, take me home or take me anywhere, to sing along and feel every bit of that, shivering pleasure and sadness all through me: that was bliss. 

Jens has a special place in my heart where very few artists inhabit. Sometimes I forget about him and then, on rediscovering a song when feeling sad, or when discovering his new EP for the first time, those sentiments of happy melancholy, of a dreamy nostalgia for a place I'd never been before surge up. Swedish winters, too big sweaters, love untainted by everything. I think that's a wonderful thing, to make even a cynic smile, to tug at the heart with that unfeigned, and yet, playful sadness. All woven through his cheerful melodies, as easy to sing and tap along to as it is to wretchedly feel. 

I waited for Jens after the show to give him a hug. He was with a shy, sweet looking lady friend, and perhaps he no longer feels the subtle aches of a broken heart. As for me, I hold on t  the same faint wish that, like Jens, I could remember every kiss like my first kiss. 

1 comment:

  1. It's been years since I last saw Jens but I remember just how he can draw an audience in. It's quite magical. Lucky you!