all words: Robb Scott
all photos: Debra Greenspan
Making a stop on their winter tour here in DC, Swedish electro-funk band Little Dragon took the stage at Black Cat—to a sold out show no less. Unfortunately I missed the opener, Billy Goat, however I heard after the show they played a solid set.
A note on Yukimi and her beautiful voice. She directs the instrumentals; it’s as if the music is a cavalry, and she leads the march. Her haunting vocals paired with the mysterious sounding electronic music created a sort of new soul. I truly felt I was in some dimly lit Japanese jazz lounge—all I needed was a glass of wine and a cigarette, perhaps a rainstorm outside.
As expected, despite the packed feel of the crowd, the mood remained chill. Having not previously been familiar with Little Dragon, I only had some idea of who they were and of their sound. I felt as if they’d be simply 90s soul with a chillwave addition. Not the case at all; at least not entirely. The same lighter than air vocals from Les Nubians, Sade, and others still came over, however Yukimi is not just a girl with a soft voice.
Taking to the drums at one point during the set, the front woman expressed the on-stage excitement nearing the level of a Kim Schifino (Matt & Kim). Equipped with her tambourine, she took the audience on a journey. The set included past songs “Blinking Pigs,” “Fortune,” and “Constant Surprises.”
Little Dragon elicited multiple eargasms throughout the night—however, I must say, much of the material sounds the same. While the band took some steps outside of the chill-wave soul territory, picking up the tempo with “My Step,” it wasn’t enough. A bit puzzling to me was when the band performed “Feather;” what possessed the lead singer to toss on a sari/kimono? Seemed a little gimmicky; her infectious personality seemed enough (she has that Zooey Deschanel charm).
During their performance of “After The Rain,” I’m pretty sure every eye and ear floated on every note. The vibe just transformed—and it’s because of moments like that during the show, which prompted me to now get into Little Dragon. They gave a taste of their upcoming material as well, with the tracks “Little Man” and “Summer Tears.”