The setting immediately reminded me of the late 80’s; a weird concert location and only a handful of visitors. Club Zukunft, the venue for the Jens Lekman concert, is basically a sleazy 80’s discotheque, with its low ceiling, dimmed light and endless number of disco bowls. Tonight there are no would-be John Travolta’s. Tonight the whole Scandinavian community of Zürich came together. All fair-skinned, blue-eyed and tall. It must be horrible for musicians to play such venues with such small crowds, but for the individual spectator its bliss. Having only a couple of meters between me and the artist makes the experience very physical and oddly enough adds an extra dimension of co-ownership. In a small audience you are less anonymous and therefore you have to clap and cheer more loudly.
Jens Lekman crammed a full band (bass player, drummer and keyboard player) on the tiniest of stages. It looked like a logistical nightmare. At some point I wondered how this works (or doesn’t work) financially. I mean, 100 visitors times 30 francs entrance fee equals 3000 francs. After subtracting various costs the tiny bit of remaining money still has to be divided by 4. That’s close to nothing and makes you admire the musician who wants to play for that kind of money. Anyway, his backing band looked like a modern, Nordic version of the backing band immortalised by Robert Palmer in the ‘Addicted to Love’ video. In the original Robert Palmer is surrounded by glossy supermodels, Jens Lekman’s version was an all female, very down to earth and very Scandinavian looking backing band. No, they weren’t all tall and blonde, but their looks and demeanor still gave them away.
Jens himself proved to be the archetype of a good entertainer. I was a bit worried about the survival chances of his introspective and moody work. Often it doesn’t really work on stage. His solution was relatively simple. He just focused on his last album, which has more swing and disguised optimism than some of his other work, and cleverly mixed in older songs. He was also just a good entertainer; happy to play, friendly and nice to his audience, and not sticking to a script. I actually believed him when he said he didn’t know which song to play for the encore. He was just that kind of guy.
I wanted to meet him afterwards at the merchandise. To talk and maybe shoot a picture. I could have done it but I didn’t dare. I am just that kind of guy.
Walking home, having an argument with myself, still felt pleasant.Tweet