Little Dragon - Roxy, Los Angeles
Tue, 08 Apr 2008 13:52:14
Everyone likes to feel appreciated. Artists certainly want to think that an audience appreciates their sacrifice, and potentially painful emotional honesty on stage. On the flipside, fans aren’t shelling out their hard-earned coin and waiting around in packed venues to be taken for granted. At its best, a performance is a give-and-take proposition from both sides of the stage. Luckily, when the Swedish electro-lounge outfit Little Dragon soared into Los Angeles last Friday, everyone in the house was living up to their end of the bargain.
Fans filled the sold-out Roxy, waiting in good spirits, as the show got off to a bit of a late start. Eventually, the curtain rose to reveal local public radio personalities Garth Trinidad and Jason Bentley. Their station, KCRW, sponsored the evening, but the two knew enough to keep their introductions short, quickly making way for the main attraction. The appreciation was deafeningly audible, as the band strolled on stage, led by diminutive frontwoman Yukimi Nagano. Little Dragon was visibly appreciative of the large, enthusiastic crowd, though they played it with a sort of cool Scandinavian reservation. Taking the mic and casting off with the hushed lament "Twice," Yukimi released a rich baritone that echoed up from depths hidden way down in her tiny frame. She stepped out of her shoes almost immediately, increasing her connection with the floor and the crowd. From that point on, a bond was forged and everyone was in this together.
Things picked up as they slid right into the velvet funk of "Forever." Immediately, Yukimi started feeling the groove and broke into a loosely wound twist move. The sultry gyration elicited cheers from the crowd, and fully explained what boyfriend Jose Gonzalez sees in her, if it wasn’t already apparent. As they transitioned into the sophisticated breakbeats of "Recommendation," she reached for her racket-shaped tambourine, and laid into it with a forehand swing that would make Maria Sharapova proud. From there they played the majority of their impressively solid catalogue. "Test" bounced through the club and got hips shaking, while "Constant Surprises" served up a half-full glass of positive nu-soul. They even treated everyone to a handful of new songs, including the uptempo "Looking Glass" and contemplative "Fortunes." There was no question there'd be an encore, and they didn't milk the cheers, turning around for a closing suite almost as soon as they left the stage. It all added up to a night of mutual gratitude between a band and their fans. Sometimes harmony amounts to more than the notes that are played.