For pop music lovers, there were arguably few 2007 releases that topped the superb sweetness of Jens Lekman’s “Night Falls Over Kortedala.” There was much to love: the Swedish songwriter’s album delivered instantly hummable melodies, a swoon-worthy croon, and lyrics that make can you laugh and then cry all in the same refrain.
On stage, Lekman adds anecdotes to his already story-filled songwriting about his bittersweet world of bingo parlors, hairdressers and the intricacies of his oft-wounded heart, sometimes taking moments at the mic to explain the origins of tunes like “A Postcard to Nina,” which is based on a time Lekman posed as his lesbian pal’s boyfriend to trick her father. His set at New York’s Webster Hall on April 5 was filled with this flavor of charming songs and banter.
After taking the stage alone for “I’m Leaving You Because I Don’t Love You,” he was joined by a mainly female backing band and string section, which served to flesh out his sound.
The set stuck primarily to highlights from “Kortedala,” as the strings matched with Lekman’s smooth-as-silk tenor carried “The Opposite of Hallelujah’s” lilting chorus and the disco-y groove of “Sipping on the Sweet Nectar.” Elsewhere he revisited 2004’s “When I Wanted To Be Your Dog’s” sprightly, sax-and-trumpet-backed “You Are the Light” and the subtly warm and endearing “Black Cab” and “Maple Leaves.”
After whistling his way through “Kortedala’s” delightful “Friday Night at the Drive-In Bingo” for the first encore, Lekman returned for the ode to his hairdresser, “Shirin,” and the Beat Happening’s “Gravedigger Blues”-sampling “Pocketful of Money.”
At the end of the show, Lekman gave an open invitation to an after party in Brooklyn, and although he didn’t share the exact location, there were surely fans willing to follow him wherever he took them next.