“We’re just having a conference…”

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Little Dragon – A New

Little Dragon are a four piece electronic-rock-pop-something band, whose origins lay in their early teenage friendship, birthed in the European land of Sweden – their lead singer, Yukimi Nagano, daughter to a Japanese father and Swedish mother. All rather irrelevant, except it explains and provides their visual offering, one unlike anything music and its current scene has on display. Still, it is the music we’ve all gathered for in this surprisingly well ventilated room, three-hundred or so strong, at Crawdaddy on Harcourt Street, Dublin, and it is music we soon get following a delay of opening doors (in which time I managed to sneak an introduction to half the band).

Three of the band members are already present on stage for many minutes, sound checking their way to soon to be perfection, before the leader of the pack emerges. Yukimi Nagano is a mesmerising figure, swaying and dancing her way through every pounding beat and riff with a click of hips and robotics pauses to a beat’s end, taking just brief moments of slight relief as she closes her eyes and drenches the air with haunting melodies, much like the quality of her voice, that surf on danceable instrumental backing. At times she’ll join Erik Bodin on the drums, standing by his side and slamming sticks to their destination, or randomly turn to thrash a hand at strung up transparent gongs hooked to electric synth – I can only bring myself to lazily describing them as three hanging breast implants with the ability for sound. But the sounds were never indulgent, always necessary, and added firmly to the intended vibe.

Two new songs, currently titled “Summer Chant”, a reggae and jungle beat filled thriller of rainbow melody, and “Little Man”, were offered to the crowd and their end was met with violently-appreciative appraisal, as high and resounding as any single or fan favourite. And this would highlight, firmly this time, the power, precision, and strength of Little Dragon as a musical outfit. This crowd were hearing new songs for the first time in cramped surroundings, with small venue sound systems, and every glimmer of quirk and beat and jive was heard and felt. A band all powerful, maintaining the mood, sometimes enhancing it, with new sounds. Offerings from Machine Dreams, such as “Feather” and “Looking Glass”, played out with such flawless nature, one would be forgiven for quizzing any possibility of tricks being pulled.

The pre-encore break was met by raucous appreciation, and fully sustained until the band reappeared. “Twice”, the night’s penultimate sound, a song incessantly requested by erratically-dancing drunkards, washed the huddled crowd like ocean spray, and, for the first time, those in attendance were completely transfixed to the point of stillness. Little Dragon had stolen the attention of their crowd from their very first movement onto the stage, but now they had a stranglehold – complete control. Like Yukimi’s on-stage presence and play, Little Dragon is a whimsical entity, but concise and serious – loud, but with delicate commitment. It’s what we all hope the future of pop might be. On a basic level, and so demanding of its genre, it is catchy, yet on all other levels it is brimming with fervent melody and thought and heart. And in what should be apparent contrast, when in full flow, they are also very, very loud – says the boy who stood in front of one of just two high hanging, ponderous speakers. Little Dragon are Erik Bodin, Yukimi Nagano, Fredrik Källgren Wallin, and Håkan Wirenstrand. They are truly wonderful. [Purchase.]

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