Little Dragon at the Malkin Bowl

Little Dragon at the Malkin Bowl, Vancouver, May 23 2015. Pavel Boiko photo.

Little Dragon at the Malkin Bowl, Vancouver, May 23 2015. Pavel Boiko photo.

Review and photos – Little Dragon at Malkin Bowl, Vancouver, May 23 2015

  • review by Taisuke Tanimura, photos by Pavel Boiko

Since forming in 1996, Little Dragon have released four albums of great pop music. The band never strays far from their formula, which consists of chugging krautrock rhythms, lush but minimal synths and lead singer Yukimi Nagano‘s unmistakable voice.

The Swedish quartet has been together since high school, and is named after the raging tantrums Nagano used to throw in the studio while they were recording. Their music is catchy and accessible, but with an experimental edge that distinguishes them from other acts that fall under the crowded “chill” or “synthpop” banners. If you imagine a slicker, catchier version of Lali Puna you are getting close.

Little Dragon at the Malkin Bowl, Vancouver, May 23 2015. Pavel Boiko photo.

Little Dragon at the Malkin Bowl, Vancouver, May 23 2015. Pavel Boiko photo.

For their Malkin Bowl show in Vancouver’s Stanley Park – the band’s second show in town this year – Little Dragon played a lot of songs from their latest album, the Grammy-nominated Nabuma Rubberband. The set also included earlier classics like “Ritual Union”, with each familiar song tweaked and stretched so everything sounded fresh. Often, songs were linked together with dance-y interstitial elements, giving their set the feel of one long party.

Starting off in a gorgeous kimono, Nagano twirled around the stage, showing off her awesome dance moves (it reminded me a bit of Asian pop stars, of which she is one… kinda). With her infectious energy and amazing voice, she was definitely the nucleus of the band.

The six diamond-shaped lights arrayed across the stage was another element that added to the atmosphere. As darkness set in, the lights really got a turn to shine, adding a magic glow to the music. Everyone was thoroughly enjoying themselves, from the girls in the Little Dragon t-shirts all the way to the grizzled listeners at the back of the beer garden.

Little Dragon at the Malkin Bowl, Vancouver, May 23 2015. Pavel Boiko photo.

Little Dragon at the Malkin Bowl, Vancouver, May 23 2015. Pavel Boiko photo.

Andre Power, co-founder of LA-based collective Soulection, warmed up the crowd with a tasty selection of forward-thinking beats. Despite the cloudy weather and slight chill in the air, it felt like summer had finally arrived.

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