Concert review: Little Dragon

Here lies a heavily, pitifully edited version of my Little Dragon review, published at exclaim.ca

Little Dragon/Billy Goat/Bonjay

Wrongbar, Toronto, ON

January 17, 2011

By Anupa Mistry

Toronto recently got a glimpse of Little Dragon via a Gorillaz show, at which the crowd got to witness lead singer Yukimi Nagano slithering across the stage and throwing her voice around. Fast-forward a few months, and Little Dragon were back playing a way smaller venue to their own diehard fans. But if Nagano can hold down an arena, then how would Little Dragon fare in front of a packed Monday night house? Like they know what’s up, of course.

Nagano slinked onstage to a sea of raised hands and immediately began to dance, rocking back and forth like an MC, exaggeratedly two-stepping and swaying cabaret-style in a way that tied it all together. Little Dragon’s music lends itself to Nagano’s stage antics well. Offering a tightly orchestrated blend of psychedelic electro-pop with jazzy new soul vocals, Little Dragon’s songs are like the soft come-down after a night spent at or above 130 BPM. Like a less-deliberate Chromeo, more future-sounding Tom Tom Club and higher-energy Stereolab, the Swedish foursome coasted through favourites such as “A New,” “Never Never,” “Blinking Pigs” and “Constant Surprises.”

While there wasn’t much banter during the hour and a half show, the band debuted a new track from an new album due out later this year. Of course, the crowd was too raucous to even hope of hearing the name, but embraced the new offering wholeheartedly.

With each song, Little Dragon stretched it out a little longer, jamming to the point of sonic exertion. Close to the end, the band began to boost their bass, sounding dubbier and keeping the crowd boiling until they closed with the smoldering ballad “Twice.”