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08 Nov 05

jens lekman proves that i never should’ve given up the ukelele

a general rule of thumb: all shows at the music gallery blow me away. for those of you not in the know, the music gallery is located in st. george the martyr church on john street just north of queen. my first experience was to see final fantasy, thanksgiving and holy fuck, and my second visit had final fantasy (again) and torngat on the bill. you can’t get much better than that.

saturday night was show #3 at the music gallery, this time featuring jens lekman and the phonemes. i’ll admit that i’m not a big phonemes fan. their set wasn’t my favourite, but i did like the inclusion of an olde tyme typewriter as percussion in one song. in general overall, quite forgettable.

jens lekman, however, totally wowed me. he made his entrance to the music gallery by walking up the church’s main aisle, singing with ukelele in hand, with percussion attached to his shoe. he played the ukelele in most songs and was joined on stage by a few members of the hidden cameras for several songs. jens also mixed things up by playing a song on the church’s organ, as well as a grand piano. the clear highlight of the night, at least in my mind, was his rendition of a sweet summer’s night on hammer hill, but do you remember the riots (complete with an interlude in the middle explaining that the riots were caused by a visit by george w. bush to sweden, and that bush is to blame for the break up of a relationship as a result) and the opposite of hallelujah (on an ep i picked up at the show) also shone. for added fun, he threw in a swedish lullabye, and translated another of his songs (i forget which) into swedish.

as was the case with the first final fantasy show i saw (as well as at FF’s opening gig with the arcade fire at the danforth music hall), shary boyle provided overhead projector art accompaniment, which was absolutely fantastic (in spite of the fact that it caused jens to hide behind the screen for a couple songs). what made this performance even better than the first couple times i saw her work was that the art was perfect for the songs being performed, and was in sync. jens liked it so much that he asked the crowd if anyone was video taping the show because it was so beautiful he wanted to see it later, calling it a “once in a lifetime experience”. for more samples of shary’s work, as well as pics of the jens and the phonemes, check out suckingalemon’s photoset.

after the conclusion of the show, jens invited the crowd to the courtyard where he apparently played a couple more songs on his ukelele, explaining that it’s nice to sing songs face to face sometimes. but, sadly, we elected to go for crepes instead. regardless, i have to ask: what is it about scandinavian performers blowing me away? first it was sondre lerche last year, and now jens lekman. i highly recommend going to see either of them, not to mention taking in a show at the music gallery sometime (for example, the bell orchestre show this friday. woo!)

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Pronunciation: 'ch&mp
Function: noun
Etymology: perhaps blend of chunk and lump
Date: 1883

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