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