“Do you believe in magic? In a young girl’s heart, how the music can free her, whenever it starts,” croons the Swedish singer-songwriter Jens Lekman as he stepped onto the stage of Rough Trade NYC, gently strumming his guitar as he looked onto the packed crowd with a heartwarming smile. “Brooklyn, I’m asking you a question. Do you believe in magic?”
Finishing off his successful US tour with three sold out New York dates, Lekman opted for a solo, acoustic set in an intimate setting as the proper closure. Supporting his latest album, Life Will See You Now, much of the night was serenaded in hypnotic, funky and danceable rhythms with Lekman’s charming vocals igniting the massive crowd to lose themselves to his music. “Who here is seeing Jens Lekman for the first time?” asked Lekman, earning a mild response as the majority of everyone inside has been following Lekman since his debut in the early 2000s. Visibly touched, Lekman endearingly tells everyone, “I like growing old with you all.”
Since his debut album, When I Said I Wanted to Be Your Dog, in 2004, Lekman has become renowned for his beautiful display of swelling synths and symphonic percussion accompanying his melodic guitar. Almost thirteen years later, Lekman maintains his distinguishable, impactful storytelling lyricism but decides to experiment freely with tropical influences and disco backbeats that creates a welcoming, entertaining atmosphere inside the small Brooklyn venue. Elevating the splendor of the night with a marimba and xylophone infused backbeat with electronic undertones, Lekman embraces the pulsing rhythm as he picks up his tambourine, shaking his hand as he danced across the stage, completely behaving as if this is the best night of his entire life. Every soul felt his delight as the space transforms into a miniature dance hall, everyone complexly losing themselves to this moment of pure bliss.
Enchanting the crowd with a nostalgic ballad inquired by a visibly, overwhelmed young fan, Lekman truly brings everyone together when he sings, “Your Arms Around Me.” It’s such a rarity to truly see every single person in a venue respectfully and collectively respond to an artist. As Lekman’s fingers plucked the melody onto the strings, his quaint, polite voice was met with his fans singing along in such a perfect sync that when he halts unexpectedly, everyone continued to sing in seamless harmony, leaving Jen Lekman truly amazed and overwhelmed by the impact his music has left on everyone as he has to compose himself before stumbling on the words, “Thank you.”