While most of the city’s music fans and musicians were in Austin, there were still things going on for those of us left behind. This past Sunday night it was the latest Swedish indie pop sensation on Sub-Pop, Loney, Dear. (Yes I spelled that right, there is no “L”, even though everyone I talked to wanted to say lonely.) Opening for them were locals Doleful Lions and Erik Harms & the Trophy Wives rounding out a nice night of pop music.
Kirstie has mentioned the Doleful Lions here before and this show was just as great. Compared to the Kitty Moon set, Jonathan was audibly more relaxed. In between songs he would crack jokes and looked absolutely ecstatic to be playing Schubas.
I have no idea who Erik Harms is but he really brought a crowd. All the more shocking was when he mentioned this was the first time he has played out with a full band. The fans really liked the set, but I have to say I was less than impressed. The songs reminded me of a slightly lesser talented Decemberists with a touch of early Bright Eyes. Not that it was whiny or overly pretentious, but the songs did seem to lack real substance. Erik played acoustic guitar and was backed up by a girl on vocals who I could only hear part of the time (though when you could hear her voice, it fit well). The rest of the backing band (the “trophy wives” I guess) were quite competent and did aide some in fleshing out the sound. They did cover of that “popular” Butthole Surfers song Pepper and made it sound pretty good, much more folky than the original.
Lastly, Loney, Dear provided some rather subdued and soft pop music. Having not heard the album I was unfairly expecting Jens Lekman II, but that is not Emil Svanängen’s style. He prefers to keep the music drawn closely to his chest and in doing so creates some wonderfully dramatic and melancholic songs. A few songs into his set he told us that he called up this guy earlier in the day who he had sat next to on a plane 8 years ago, and asked him to come to the show. He told us that the man refused saying he was to old to go out. Beyond this I was very much mesmerized watching him play, it was just so peaceful. The keyboard melodies and the backup female vocals helped complimented his songs well which were at times hushed and fragile between some of the more upbeat numbers.