While Sweden is known for its amazing healthcare system and delectable meatballs, it’s their pop music that really does it for me. As a core millennial, who came of age in the ’90s and early ’00s, I noticed the songwriting tenacity of the Swedes was ubiquitous. In my late teens to early 20s, Lykke Li was one of my go-to’s. In my late 20s, it was Seinabo Sey. One Swedish act that’s been a mainstay for me in adulthood is Little Dragon. While not pop, per se, the foursome always manages to hit the nail directly on the head with feel-good, groovy soul, jazz, and subtle R&B. Their music is the perfect soundtrack for solitary walks when trying to embody the main character’s energy.
Earlier this year Little Dragon released their seventh studio album, Slugs of Love. And this Thursday, they showcased their master-craft in music-making to a sold-out house at the TLA on South Street. The show began with drummer Erik Bodin, bassist, Fredrik Wallin, and keyboard player Håkan Wirenstrand, taking their respective spots on stage before lead vocalist Yukimi Nagano sashayed to the stage draped in a transparent fabric that glowed purple and green. The collective dove headfirst into their seven-album discography.
Little Dragon led with mostly newer songs from their 2023 release Slugs Of Love. Fans never missed a beat when it came to singing along to “Amöban” and “Frisco.” While I can’t say that their newer tracks strayed from their previous work, their consistent sound over the span of their career lent itself to a cohesive energy primed and ready for good intentions and dancing. One of many highlights of the evening came when Little Dragon performed a crowd favorite, “Wildfire” featuring Sbtrkt. This particular live version of the song was significantly more bass-heavy and EDM-like than the original version. In the best way possible, it was so different from the original.
At this point, the audience thought that the show was over only for Little Dragon to reappear on the stage to perform some of their most popular and sonically gorgeous tracks, “Twice” and “Ritual Union.” It was obvious that folks were waiting for this for the duration of the evening.
Overall, Little Dragon put on an amazing and intimate show for a packed house that was full of people that ranged from lifelong to more casual listeners. Their catalog is so full that one night on South Street would not be able to do their music justice. Still, Little Dragon made sure to remind the rest of us why Sweden is such a powerful force in music.