Live Review: Jens Lekman, Erlend Oye & Anton Franc

20 February 2013 | 3:41 pm | Cam Findlay

It wasn’t a greatly exciting night (Garfield’s right on the Monday thing), but more than enjoyable, and near everyone left with a grin on their face.

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If you'd read the article on Jens Lekman we published last week (ahem *shameless self-promotion*), you'd know that his new album, I Know What Love Isn't, had been a culmination of years of rollercoaster-like ups and downs. Suffice to use a common and obvious connection, but his Perth Festival set held much of the same sway over the relaxed and dutiful audience in attendance.

Anton Franc had the job of reeling the crowd in for the first part. Admittedly, I had seen the band play a few times before, but what was presented on stage was a much more polished and tight form than previous. The acoustic songwriting is clear throughout all of their songs, and they are naturals at building twangy, quirky pop in the style of The Mountain Goats or Andrew Jackson Jihad, but with less of the melancholy and semi-comical fervency that grants those acts so much interest. They built on strong guitar lines, and delivered faultlessly, but the crowd became a bit phased towards the end of the set; maybe because of the big stage, or because of Mondayitis. It was still a lovely show from a talented group of guys, though.

As the crowd patiently waited for Jens Lekman and band to step on stage, the anticipation built, before… wait a sec, that's not Jens… True enough, as a special surprise, King Of Convenience and Jens' old mate Erlend Oye, in the country for Laneway, stepped on stage, grabbed a guitar, and after a short introduction delivered an intimate and well-received solo set, comprising covers and originals. Pet Shop Boys, Whitest Boy Alive and some Kings originals all made an appearance in this unexpected but rather entertaining support.

Finally, Jens Lekman walked on stage with a big smile on his face, thanked the crowd and got into a smooth, faultless set from start to finish. He played a mix of new tracks and old fan favourites, each getting joyous applause from the crowd. What really sets Jens' gigs apart, though, is his truthfulness in telling the story of his music, and this evening was no different: Lekman went fully into the drama that created I Know What Love Isnt, trying to meet Kirsten Dunst, and – of course – cutting up an avocado. It wasn't a greatly exciting night (Garfield's right on the Monday thing), but more than enjoyable, and near everyone left with a grin on their face.

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