Saw Jens Lekman at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater in Bloomington, where he’s an honorary local (just like in Melbourne and probably Lhasa), last night with a few hundred other punters. I arrived during Taken by Trees’ last song because I was writing today’s lecture on how the normal distribution can fail; in fact I kept working on it during the break. Failed to make it interesting when discussing the contents with someone sitting behind me (not that I did better with my students today, but at least if one of them ends up running Goldman Sachs they might be a little less likely to run the world economy into the ground, at least accidentally).
After some piano tinkling, Jens entered with a cap and very little hair; guess he was sick of it knowing her name. He played acoustic and a sampler; besides the pianist there was a violinist, bassist, and drummer, all of whom played with Gothenburgian efficiency (well, the bassist was a New York ringer), which is different from Berliner efficiency in that they smiled. Jens missed a couple of top end notes, but nothing seriously compromised his rich, heady baritone. The set started with half the new album, during which the crowd left their seats, leaving a slob like me to put his feet up in the fifth row. Then followed some fan faves (is “Black Cab”, which I first heard four hours before the show, a conventionally great pop song or what), a couple more new ones, then the Euroboogie. Jens was soon clowning, playing air xylophone and getting away with introducing his songs by giving away the jokes like a trailer for a Wayans brothers movie (except without the bad movie). Second encore brought us back to the beginning with just Jens doing “Every Little Hair”, which he seems to find more emotionally useful as a framing device than I do. No “Erica America”, no “A Promise”, whatever, great show. Jens was in the mood to hang out afterward but I had to come home to finish my lecture but ended up writing this, so that’s a terrible excuse.