all words: Robert Winship
all photos: Katherine Gaines
“This one is all about the beat, sometimes it goes on and on…it’s about the vibe” – Yukimi Nagano
The promise of Saturday snowfall was briefly fulfilled, amid biting cold. The lines for 930 club built up around the corners of the building, while I tried to find my name on the list. Due to some mix up, I wasn’t let in until after the Small Black set, but I grabbed a beer and took a center spot in the balcony just as the intro music warmed the space.
Little Dragon came to the 930 Club as the last North American gig of their tour. Ritual Union, their third release has charted well in the US, due in some part to appearances on Gorillaz’ Plastic Beach album and tour. Over the last five years, Little Dragon have been furthering the sort of neo-soul electronic sound that fellow Europeans, The xx, have shown to be so successful. Yukimi Nagano possesses such an effortlessly sultry voice that is damn near impossible to foul-up the soft, bassy jams she makes glisten.
The show was pitch-perfect, apart from some drum monitor woes that didn’t seem to phase Erik Bodin. Little Dragon executed their set marvelously, often dropping loops that put the beat to sleep, then reignited the vibe in soul-heavy dream sequences. For their part, the crowd moved and bounced. Locals can be notoriously stiff outside the Deadmaus bangers. But inside this crowded house, a steady wave of the floor section bounced and shimmied away.
You hate to give the un-instrumented lead singer too much credit, but Yukimi deserves every bit of praise. Her voice was set free about the rafters while she ponied and posed her way through their catalog. This is not to discount the work of Fredrik Källgren Wallin (keys) and Håkan Wirenstrand (bass/keys). The band was tight, neatly calibrating each song as a sort of living thing. When Yukimi would finish a chorus or bridge, she moved to the cowbell or drum pad and the song would whir and bump along, fading into silence.
Of the limited comments and banter, “Thank you” was their refrain. “It’s so good to see people singing along”, “We toured all over the United States without a big old fancy record label…It’s because of you guys.” Maybe the gratitude is a given when you tour hard to keep alive but, the positive spirit maintained the warmth and tightness of the space, one on which Little Dragon delivered a magnificent show.
- A New
- Ritual Union
- Brush The Heat
- After The Rain
- Shuffle A Dream
- Please Turn
- My Step
- Little Man
- Blinking Pigs