I finally saw Jens Lekman live after waiting for what felt like an eternity. His voice was as impressive live, as it is on record. There was no difference in quality, it was pitch perfect, almost uncanny. I shot an amateur video of "A Postcard To Nina," sent it to my bro, and he agreed his "voice was great." He also asked me if Jens Lekman was "some sort of a comedian too?" I said "Are You Kidding?" To which he replied "No," and mentioned how Jens was "really working the crowd."
It's true. If you didn't know the Swedish pop singer Jens Lekman you might think the same. He has an incredible knack for telling a story, and during the intros to his songs he expands on these tales. During "Postcard," the crowd listened intently to every detail of a comical explanation on how his best friend Nina, told her parents that the two of them were engaged. Nina is in love with a woman, but she doesn't want her parents to know. So Jens pretends to be engaged to her so she can stay with "her girlfriend." As the story unfolds we find Jens having dinner with Nina's parents. The father has taken a liking to him and asks if they can listen to his music while having coffee.
You know I'd do anything for love/But, Nina what were you thinking of?
With each step of the story, the crowd is there laughing, clapping, waiting for the next chapter. His sense of humor is subtle, owing much to the pauses in between these soft spoken lines (if you'd even call them that). The band plays just loud enough in the background while the storyteller delivers the grand finale.
So I send you this postcard just to say/Don't let anyone stand in your way
Yours truly, Jens Lekman/...Don't let anyone stand in your way
Wide smiles are seen throughout the hall. What a masterpiece! Delivered with perfection, it feels like a new experience. I wonder to myself, "Is this what Sinatra was like?"
Jens has a quiet voice and his Swedish accent makes his words even harder to decipher. So, you can imagine how quiet it was inside Lincoln Hall as he played through the majority of his latest record, I Know What Love Isn't. The title song "I Know What Love Isn't," is a wistful summer ballad, seemingly written in the 70's. The accompaniment is light, allowing Jens's voice to hover just above his acoustic guitar, while doing that thing he does best. Crooning a tale of new love, infused with that subtle humor.
Hey do you want to go see a band? No I hate bands/It’s always packed with men spooning their girlfriends
Clutching their hands as if they let go/Their feet would lift from the ground and descend
The back and forth banter is the charm of this upbeat song.
So lets’s get married/I’m serious
But only for the citizenship/I’ve always liked the idea of it
Knowing the lyrics to the songs are almost as important as the songs themselves. So you can sing along and you feel like you're in on the joke. As I looked around I could see people anticipating certain lyrics, then smiling once they were sang. It's an exclusive club, and at times I felt like I was left out when I didn't know the password. This kinship is the connection between Jens and his fans and the essence of his live performance. If you didn't know the song being played, now you really wanted to. And so this creates the rabid fan base that sold out two glorious shows at Lincoln Hall.
Other classics by the storyteller and his band included such hits as...
- Every Little Hair Knows Your Name (piano instrumental)
- Become Someone Else's
- I Know What Love Isn't
- The End Of The World Is Bigger Than Love
- Some Dandruff on your Shoulder
- Golden Key
- The Opposite Of Hallelujah
- Waiting For Kirsten
- Black Cab
- I Want a Pair of Cowboy Boots
- The World Moves On
- Maple Leaves
- Into Eternity
- Sipping On The Sweet Nectar
- An Argument With Myself
- Your Arms Around Me
- A Postcard To Nina
- Encore 2:
- Every Little Hair Knows Your Name