SYN Reviews: Jens Lekman at The Night Cat
Words by Bec Grech
Jens Lekman’s sold out performance at The Night Cat last friday night was like putting on a pair of your favourite socks. A year on from releasing his last full length album Life Will See You Now, Swedish singer songwriter Lekman graced Australian soil for a string of shows along the east coast.
Lekman had me on-side before the night had even started, as I discovered he had called in support from the likes of Australian artists Emma Russack and Dianas. Russack opened the evening to an encouraging crowd by sharing insights behind her lyrics, prior to getting lost within them herself. The room started to fill out as Dianas took to the stage with their intertwining bass and guitar melodies, and shared lead vocals.
Acoustic guitar in hand, Lekman found himself in the centre of the Night Cat on their 360 degree stage, and began with a cover of The Lovin’ Spoonful’s ‘Do You Believe In Magic’. With audience members singing along and cheering between most of the lyrics, Lekman breezed through ‘Wedding In Finistere’, ‘Hotwire The Ferris Wheel’ and ‘To Know Your Mission’, each introduced with descriptive stories. The “oohs” and “aahs” from the crowd during these stories seemed as if they’d never heard them before, and yet their singing along to each song proved otherwise. This is a testament to Lekman’s skill in creating meaningful connections with audience members.
Towards the end of ‘To Know Your Mission’ Australian band members (including Jenny McKechnie from local punks Wet Lips on the bass) bought together by Lekman for only 2 special shows, crept onto the stage for a quick transition into ‘The Opposite Of Hallelujah’. Lekman and the crowd fed off of each other’s energy to create an incredibly cheery dance party. Not only did the upbeat pop music get your feet moving, but Lekman’s ability to layer this with relatable and often sweet lyrics resulted in dancing hearts as well.
It was difficult to pick out crowd favourites, as everyone was so receptive and engaged throughout the whole evening. After performing one of his more well known tracks ‘Your Arms Around Me’, Lekman spoke of how significant Melbourne is to him, as he has lived here in the past. He also shared that returning here to play is like reverting to a “back-up copy of himself”. In a crowd that clearly adored him, it was endearing to discover that this occasion was also very special to him.
Lekman finished the full band performance with the upbeat track ‘An Argument With Myself’. Solo once again, Lekman performed ‘Shirin’ and ‘A Postcard To Nina’, leaving the microphone multiple times to join in with the room that was singing along.
It was a heartwarming evening of music, and many wide smiles were spotted among punters as the lights came on at the end of the show.