Tag Archives: Jens Lekman


Jens Lekman Offers an Antidote to NYC’s Winter on Saturday night

March 20th, 2017

Jens Lekman – The Bowery Ballroom – March 18, 2017

(Photo: Andie Diemer)

(Photo: Andie Diemer)

(Jens Lekman performs live at Rough Trade NYC tonight.)

Given New York City’s week of Swedish weather, with gray days and precipitation falling within the never land between rain and snow, it must have felt like home for one of Sweden’s great pop troubadours, Jens Lekman, who, before returning to Europe, ruled the weekend here in the city, playing The Bowery Ballroom on Saturday and Music Hall of Williamsburg on Sunday—plus he’s at Rough Trade Trade NYC tonight. His Saturday show began with just him and an acoustic guitar, performing “To Know Your Mission” and “Evening Prayer,” off his latest album, the fantastic and much-acclaimed Life Will See You Now. The latter track was particularly Jens-ian, a tender yet optimistically upbeat tune about worrying and carrying for a friend going through chemotherapy.

“Who here is seeing Jens Lekman for the first time tonight?” asked Lekman to a handful of cheers. Going back all the way, he then went through every one of his local shows, even asking who was at his 2005 Mercury Lounge appearance. “I like growing older with you guys. I want this thing to last forever,” he said. The rest of the band then joined him onstage for “What’s That Perfume That You Where?” about memories triggered by a scent. After an amp malfunction that cut the song short, Lekman began again, playing through on acoustic guitar, somehow sounding even better the second time around: Nothing can hold back those danceable Lekman grooves. There’s a heartfelt warmth to his music that even permeated how he performed. For the end of “The Opposite of Hallelujah,” Lekman pantomimed the xylophone notes in front of him like falling snowflakes.

He introduced “I Know What Love Isn’t” as something he wrote during a cynical time of his life, but even this song brought forth a sense of cheeriness. Perhaps cynical New Yorkers have our taste for cynicism skewed too far to recognize the finer nuances of Scandinavian cynicism. Lekman introduced “Dandelion Seed” as the last song, realizing as he said it that the audience wouldn’t let things end there. The band returned for Lekman classics “Maple Leaves” and “A Postcard to Nina.” And when even that wasn’t enough, the affable performer returned solo yet again for “I Want a Pair of Cowboy Boots” and “Pocketful of Money.” “I’ll come runnin’ with a heart on fire,” sang the packed crowd with Lekman repeating the chorus over the audience, delivered like a high-pitched plea. There’s no better antidote to the dregs of a New York City winter than huge moments like these. —Dan Rickershauser | @D4nricks


Grow a Pair: Win Free Tickets to See Jens Lekman on 3/18

March 14th, 2017


Jens Lekman is known across the world for keen pop hooks and a witty sense of humor. With a new album out, Life Will See You Now, the Swedish singer-songwriter has been back on our shores traveling the country, and his tour closes with three shows in NYC. A few tickets still remain for next Monday’s solo show at Rough Trade NYC, but his appearances at The Bowery Ballroom on Saturday and at Music Hall of Williamsburg on Sunday are already sold out. That’s the bad news. However, the good news is that The House List is giving away two tickets to see Jens Lekman on Saturday at The Bowery Ballroom. Want to get in on the fun but got shut out of tickets? Try to Grow a Pair of them. Just fill out the form below, making sure to include your full name, e-mail address, which show you’re trying to win tickets to (Jens Lekman, 3/18) and your favorite thing about Swedish music. Eddie Bruiser, a fan of Scandinavian rock, will notify the winner by Friday. Lycka till.

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A Club Becomes a Cathedral

October 9th, 2012

Jens Lekman – Terminal 5 – October 8, 2012

Pretty much anyone who gets to the point where they’re playing a room the size of Terminal 5 has taken an interesting anecdote-laden path to get there. And his holds true for Jens Lekman, who had the honor of gracing the T5 stage last night and sang and played his way through this journey: an enchanting and endearing set of music and banter. Opening with “Become Someone Else’s,” the Swede worked through most of his new release, I Know What Love Isn’t, with his band in buoyant accompaniment: bass, drums, keys and violin. Through the first half of the show, the storytelling interwove with the music, so that the title track followed a story about not getting married just to get Australian citizenship and “Waiting for Kirsten,” a real-life fable about waiting for Kirsten Dunst in a club in his hometown begat the moral of an ideal where everyone is treated the same.

The songs felt like different episodes from the same sitcom, one “based on true events,” each rolling in and out of Lekman’s pitch-perfect banter. He’s the kind of guy who makes sure a song dedicated to those who have had their hearts broken (“The End of the World Is Bigger Than Love”) is balanced by one for the those doing the heartbreaking (“Some Dandruff on Your Shoulder”). The kind of guy who has a pocketful of confetti ready to throw on the audience at the climax of one song, mug for the cameras before another and play air xylophone along with his percussion samples throughout. With its bouncing bass and purposeful violin melodies framing Lekman’s balladeer voice, the music proved itself to be a descendant of ABBA and the Monkees with a dash of Andrew Bird.

Lekman played a wonderful, almost-solo take on “I Want a Pair of Cowboy Boots,” which launched the climactic second half of the show. Here, the stories made way for up-tempo groovers and road-tested segues. “The World Moves On” was a highlight, combining all the elements and strengths of the band, with shifting musical themes and rhythms and some great violin. In a flash of beats from Lekman’s little sample box, this boosted into a high-energy “Maple Leaves” with the Columbus Day crowd discovering its bounce. A pair of horn players joined in for the finale, which kept this momentum going to its natural ecstatic conclusion. As if to sum up the evening in a song, the encore, “A Postcard to Nina,” broke the wall, with Lekman’s storytelling entering the song itself, rubbing elbows with the music and pulling the audience in along with it. Planned or not, Lekman rewarded the gleeful crowd with a couple more songs, solo acoustic, including a warm sing-and-snap-along take on “Pocketful of Money,” which turned the club, he said, into a cathedral. Lekman also told the attentive crowd that he’d be in the city with nothing to do for a couple of days (besides appearing on Fallon and doing laundry), so to e-mail him if there’s anything going on. Certainly new stories—and the songs to go with them—in the making. —A. Stein

Photos courtesy of Mina K


Jens Lekman Comes to Terminal 5 on Monday

October 5th, 2012

Shortly after taking up the bass to play in a friend’s band as a teen, Swedish singer-songwriter Jens Lekman began writing his own music. Ultimately, his reliance on funny, melancholic lyrics earned him comparisons to Jonathan Richman and Stephen Merritt, meaning he’s doing something right. But it wasn’t just Lekman’s words—his catchy guitar pop has earned him followers across the globe. So when Lekman (above, doing “I Know What Love Isn’t” for Pitchfork.TV) released the heartache- and heartbreak-filled I Know What Love Isn’t (stream it below) last month, a world tour was in order. See him on Monday at Terminal 5.