Little Dragon, Vega (Feb 2012)

***** (5 stars out of 6); February 14 at Store Vega
The Swedes more than made up for cancelling their November date

Expectations were high from the very beginning as Swedish electronic act du jour, Little Dragon, took to the stage at a sold out Vega on Tuesday night. Following in the footsteps of fellow Swedes Nikki And The Dove, who played the venue back in January, vocalist Yukini Nagano and her band delivered a performance that will be remembered by all present for many years to come.

Having rescheduled the show from November to February on account of illness, Little Dragon had plenty to live up to. As such, the crowd was anything but partisan to begin with, but hearts were melted and feet were shuffled by the end of the show.

The proceedings kicked off in lighthearted fashion, as a mix of older gems off albums such as the eponymous Little Dragon debut album and 2009’s Machine Dreams filled the packed hall. Aided by top-notch acoustics, Yukini Nagano seemed at completely at ease, brimming with exuberant waves of confidence that saw her drift dreamily into hypnotic, trance-like states with her eyes closed and her hand elegantly swinging a tambourine back and forth.

As time wore on, the Gothenburg-based band showcased some of their longer tunes, along with new material off their 2011 critically acclaimed album Ritual Union, many of which featured lengthy improvisations that stretched on almost symphonically before weaving into more upbeat pastures towards the end of the show.

By the climax of the two-hour performance, Nagano’s voice and the instrumental cacophony backing her vocals had worked wonders on the Valentine’s Day crowd, who by this point had long since killed their inhibitions.

Little Dragon preluded the curtain call with a virtuoso performance of the sentimental (and on the night, rather fitting) ‘Twice’, which triggered more than a few embraces amongst the crowd. Five years after they took the world by storm, Little Dragon only seem to be getting better as the years roll on — an assertion last night’s outing proves with a fair bit of authority.

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