Jens Lekman delights an enraptured audience
Jens Lekman can command a room. He stepped up to the microphone in front of a packed house at Off Broadway, began singing the words to "Postcard #4" unaccompanied, and a reverential quiet overtook the crowd. The audience was with Jens each step of the way and were rewarded with a spectacular show.
Before launching into the next tune, on acoustic guitar, Jens told the story of a night out with a friend getting over a break-up. They ventured near a closed down fair, which inspired the song "Hotwire the Ferris Wheel." Many of the songs were introduced with charming anecdotes, with cheers and laughter erupting in all the right places.
Following a spirited sing-a-long to "Your Arms Around Me," Jens welcomed the audience to join him for the rest of the tour, including the next stop in Texas. It's hard to imagine a more appreciative crowd, and the offer felt like more than typical between song patter. This led to the story of Jens applying for his work visa at the U.S. Embassy where he was asked about his decision to pursue a career in music, a moment that flowed beautifully into "To Know Your Mission."
And then the dancing broke out. After a set of mostly acoustic accompaniment, Jens began to play looped tracks with a nearby keyboard for "The Opposite of Hallelujah" and "I Know What Love Isn't." By the time he worked up to "How We Met, the Long Version," Jens ditched the blazer he was wearing and continued on in short sleeves, grooving along with the audience and sharing a quick story about performing at the Andy Warhol Museum (which features Warhol's extensive perfume collection) before launching into "What's That Perfume That You Wear."
After a quick feint of leaving the stage, Jens returned for an extended encore with "The World Moves On" (dedicated to those with broken hearts), "I Want a Pair of Cowboy Boots," "Black Cab," and "A Postcard to Nina." Chatting with other fans after the show, it seemed he checked off many attendees favorite songs in that jam-packed encore. He also took the time to acknowledge Charlie from Bloomington, Indiana for being a big fan and traveling to his shows.
Peter Oren opened the show with a set that he acknowledged was a bit of a downer, but it was delivered with warmth and humor. He had the crowd laughing along as he expressed a desire to sell out in order to survive as a musician and listed a lengthy set of corporate sponsors he would be willing to sell out to. Hailing from Indiana, Peter also has ties to St. Louis and previously recorded at Native Sound Studios with David Beeman. He noted that session included Nathan Jatcko, who recently passed, on the keyboards. A song was dedicated to Nathan's memory.