Jens Lekman & Viktor Sjöberg @ Annexe Art Gallery, 09.12.08
The last time Jens Lekman played at Little Havana was nearly two year ago, that little intimate gig was still fresh in my pathetically restricted memories of live acts that this deprived country could offer. The multi-talented Swedish singer-songwriter promised he would be back with a full band during his last bill here, but that promise was only half-realized this time around as he brought along his lanky protégé Viktor Sjöberg to provide catchy remix to his otherwise acoustic guitar-driven sweet pop tunes through the lovely Mac.
The crowd was having small talk and catching up before entering the small room which could house less than 300 at Annexe Art Galley, Pasar Seni. It was an interesting scene seeing how different type of people get together for music, there are the well-dressed yuppies who bragged about the latest gigs they went for overseas all night, the up-for-everything scene kids and the musically-inclined-socially-handicapped indie geeks. Of course, Jerome Kugan, the man behind the gig was also seen running around the place.
Malaysians have lazy legs, they like to sit around. They still could not get their butts off the floor when Jens Lekman started playing The Opposite of Hallelujah. 30 seconds into the song, alright, I am waiting for someone to get up first. 1 minute into the song, my legs are itchy, I want to get up and dance, everyone is still seated. Midway through the song, please get up people! I am already in my half-seated, half stood ‘squat’ position. I guess Jens Lekman could not stand it anymore too, he did this little signal raising his two arms upwards like a wizard doing his little magic trick, ‘Wham’ a streak of light came out off his wand, everyone got up and started moving around. Finally!
Seeing Jens Lekman perform makes me miss attending a gig like this, no barrier, no security, no crazy screaming fan girls, no annoying gung ho audience who comes at the last minute and elbows his/her way up to the front. Regardless of whether you were merely 1 meter away from Jens Lekman or at the last row, everyone was just having fun, humming to the songs that were played in repeat mode in their iPods being played live in their eyes now. I almost forgot how good it feels to attend a gig as carefree as this, the last time was too long ago, Andrew Bird perhaps?
Being the charismatic himself, Jens Lekman was fun to watch. His little banters between songs cracked everyone up. At a point, they were having some troubles with the sound system, Jens Lekman just ignored the havoc going around behind him and played the song acoustically, though I pitied Viktor Sjorberg who looked endearingly helpless standing behind the deck. During the lovely A Postcard to Nina, Jens Lekman was narrating the story behind the song at the intro, the witty him even did some comical expressions to go with the story. He carried on the show with crowd favourites like Black Cab, Julie and songs from the latest album Night Falls Over Kortedala like Friday Night At The Drive-In Bingo and Shirin.
Jens and Viktor came back on stage not long after the audience cheered for encore without that much effort. The duo played Sipping On The Sweet Nectar with a the music video playing at the backdrop. Jens asked everyone to dance along the beats, even himself and Viktor came down from the stage and joined the dancing crowd for a brief moment.
It was a genuine fun gig for Jens Lekman's fans and even for those attendees who have not heard him prior to the show, I am sure they are entirely converted now. Hopefully this second gig Jens played in Malaysia would not be our last.
Here's a cover which Jens played when I first saw him,
Jens Lekman - You Can Call Me Al (Paul Simon Cover)