On Saturday night (Oct.10), as I was coming out of the play Fedra at Lookingglass, I decided on the spur of the moment to head over to the Bottom Lounge for a concert by Sweden’s Loney Dear. I showed up in time to see most of the set by Asobi Seksu, which was properly loud and shoe-gazy… But then I was disappointed to see that a number of Asobi Seksu fans left before the set by headliner Loney Dear. This terrific Swedish band ended up playing to a fairly small crowd. Maybe the crowd wouldn’t have looked so small if this show had been at a smaller venue like Schubas, where Loney Dear has played in the past, but the Bottom Lounge room tends to dwarf the audience. The Bottom Lounge vibe is OK for a rock show, but when the music’s mellower or folkier (as it is with Loney Dear) the old-fashioned concert-hall vibe at a place like Schubas somehow seems more fitting.
Since the last time I saw Loney Dear, I’ve been listening more to the band’s most recent CD, Dear John, which has a number of wonderfully subtle songs. I especially like the hushed, heartfelt track “Harm/Slow,” and I was glad to hear the Bottom Lounge quiet down as Loney Dear main man Emil Svanängen sang “Harm” (I believe he sang only the first song in this two-song medley).
I didn’t have my camera, so I can’t offer any of my own photos from the Loney Dear show, but check out this cool set of images from Kirstie Shanley
Loney Dear is one of the best musical acts out of Sweden right now, and given how much great music is coming from Sweden, that’s saying a lot. Loney Dear (which is basically one guy, Emil Svanängen, with a backing band) came to Schubas Sunday night (March 1), playing a fabulous little show in the midst of a tour where most of Loney Dear’s gigs have been opening for Andrew Bird.
I’m just getting familiar with the songs on the new Loney Dear album, Dear John, but they were instantly infectious when Loney Dear played them on the Schubas stage. At its core, this music is gentle and pretty folk rock, with Svanängen singing soothing and lilting melodies in a falsetto. But Loney Dear has a more expansive sound than that, mixing in some electronics and upbeat rock rhythms. A cursory listen to Loney Dear’s records might lead you to expect a gossamer-thin sound, but the band was actually fairly loud and energetic Sunday night – but oh so quiet when Svanängen moved off-mike during two songs to sing and play his acoustic guitar without amplification.
The crowd sang along to the harmonies, and Svanängen was charmingly modest as he expressed his wonder at the reception his music was getting. The audience demanded two encores, and Loney Dear finished the night with “Sinister in a State of Hope,” one of my favorite songs from the 2007 album Loney, Noir. It was a joyous concert, one of those beautiful nights when bards and players from some distant land alight in our fair city to strum their guitars in one of our little rooms.
www.loneydear.com / myspace.com/loneydear
It was nice to see opening act Anni Rossi again – just nine days after she opened for Deer Tick and Future Clouds and Radar at the Empty Bottle – with a more respectful audience. This time, people actually listened as she performed her quirky, uncoventional music on vocals and viola, including an Ace of Bass cover. myspace.com/annirossi
Photos of Loney Dear and Anni Rossi.