Google the name Jens. If your Google is the same as mine (and I assume it is), the first result will be this website. Nothing to do with Jens Lehmann, or any other Jens. Jens Lekman, Swedish indie crooner extraordinaire and sexiest man in Indie Rock according to my bro Scott‘s readers* takes that honour.
He probably deserves it too, not that Google is a meritocracy. Being the sexiest man in the credible world has not gone to his head, judging from his performance at Whelans. Comfortable and earnest, he took the stage with his “percussionist” (apparently Swedish for “occasional bongo tapper”) Tammy after a decent performance from Fat Cat‘s Dakota farmboy Tom Brosseau, where he made his announcement. “I’m doing this show for the money. I’m broke.”
Luckily, as my friend observed, Swedish people are generally equipped with better senses of humour than most Northern Europeans. It’s probably true though. He didn’t bring a full band because he couldn’t afford it, so he played through most of Night Falls Over Kortedala with only his guitar, his bongoist and occasional looped oohs for support. He explained several songs rather charmingly, bringing a little humanity to what sometimes can seem polished or unambitious music. “Why don’t you tell us a funny story, Jens?”, Jens asked himself, and he obliged.
The backing track kicked in for the last two songs before the pretend-end of the set, including the highlight Opposite of Hallelujah, which is one of the singles of the year I reckon (because actual physical single release is irrelevant when you have the internet) but the encore songs were again endearingly stripped down, like the rest of the set. Seeing Jens Lekman stripped of band and samples is just a different way of experiencing the music I think. Not worse, anyway. Not that I have anything to compare with. I enjoyed myself a lot, and I’m definitely a bigger Jens fan now than I was before.
Oh, and some famous guy played a few songs with him on violin. Big clap to you Dublin for cheering the three-song special guest five times as much as the headline act. I’d take Jens any day, I’ll be honest.
*Note: I do not actually know Scott Lapatine or any other Stereogum contributor, and they are certainly not my bros.