Jens Lekman: Crescent Ballroom, Phoenix, AZ 11/9/12

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Forget Disneyland. Wherever Jens Lekman is playing is the happiest place on earth, even when he’s saying something incredibly sad.

In fact, Jens Lekman has a knack for breaking bad in such a way that you forget how sad it truly is, and you quickly come around to accepting it all as part of the cycle of life. Add this skill to a crooner who wears his heart on the sleeve of his Swedish sweater and we have a hardcore non-apologetic romantic. A romantic with a clear Scandinavian pop sensibility that is particularly sweet and catchy.

It’s also quickly becomes clear that songs are stories for Mr. Lekman. The music comes second to the story and perhaps more importantly, the reason for the story. One of the best told at the Crescent Ballroom on Nov. 9th was about stalking Kirsten Dunst who visiting Lekman’s hometown of Gothenburg while filming Melancholia. According to Jens, at one point in the night, poor Kirsten was unable to get in to a club where Jens and friends were anxiously waiting for her because the club was “full”. Laughing, Lekman explains that in Gothenburg, it doesn’t matter who you are… everyone’s the same. That bit of pride in his hometown, along with the criticism he doles out for the working-class town where “ the factory was waiting” for him sums up nicely how Lekman sees many things in life. It’s complicated and yet somehow, it’s as it should be.

And through his stories we come to realize that there are always complicated situations in life. Romance goes awry. Life slips sideways. But it’s going to be all right. The important thing is not the circumstances, but that you don’t forget who you are… and for goodness sakes, don’t ever stop BEING who you are. As he says in one of the most powerful moments of the night, sung as a postcard to a friend having a difficult time “coming out” to her family.

“Nina I just want to check in
‘Cause I think about you every second
So I send you this postcard just to say
Don’t let anyone stand in your way
Yours truly, Jens Lekman”

And that was the message to all of us who were lucky enough to be present at the “happiest place on earth. “Don’t let anyone stand in your way”. It’s so simple and yet, so so complicated.

Setlist:

Every Little Hair Knows Your Name
A Higher Power
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

Encore:
Your Arms Around Me
A Postcard To Nina

Encore 2:
And I Remember Every Kiss
Every Little Hair Knows Your Name

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