Little Dragon are a band who could easily slip under the radar, and this evening at Manchester Academy 2 the Swedish quintet didn't improve this.
Hailing from Gothenburg, in the dark dark land of Sweden, Little Dragon are a five-piece comprising of Erik Bodin, Fredrik Källgren Wallin, Arild Werling, Håkan Wirenstrand, and Yukimi Nagano.
Formed in 2006, I only really heard about them when Pitchfork proclaimed their third album, Ritual Union, to be the best new album. I gave it a few listens, and it fell by the way-side. It didn’t have the same punch as Yeasayer’s Odd Blood, the darkness behind The Knife’s Silent Shout or the fragility behind Bat For Lashes. It was non-descript.
Opening act Holy Other's track Touch is by far one of the most atmospheric nu-R&B tracks I’ve heard, and the With U EP is definitely worth the couple of quid it cost.
Hooded and hunched over his keyboard, Holy Other had the crowd captivated with his every twitch, glitch, thumb and grind that flew from the stage. The atmosphere was some witchhouse funeral, occasionally erupting into some misplaced elation, some reaction to the spells of yearning and regret cast by the Holy other. Definitely one of the most intense live shows I’ve experienced.
I should probably mention that Reykjavík Tourist Guide was DJing between acts, pumping the crowd up with his expert mix of chillwave, bass music, witchhouse, whatever anyone seeing both Holy Other and Little Dragon would want to listen to really.
Wearing a flowing gold and black dress, Yukimi appeared on stage to sensational cheering and applause. She held the audience her prisoners, her slow stretched out dancing quickly abandoned for frantic percussion work on key tracks.
The gig had a hypnotic quality, however there were number of blips in the radar as LD didn't quite reach out to the audience as a whole. Highlights, were Brush The Heat, Looking Glass, Little Man and Ritual Union, the latter being one of the strongest songs on the album. Both strong and vulnerable simultaneously, Yukimi delivers an emphatic confession on the fleeting nature of love, the decay of a relationship and the connection everyone feels to those who have been through all of this before.
The gig ended with a rousing encore. The crowd, it has to be said, was far more enthusiastic about seeing the group return to the stage after the first wind, but perhaps it was a little over-hyped. This Little Dragon may indeed continue to slip under the radar.