loney dear

Loney, Dear at The Media Club

This is why I love music.

Those are the words I said to Stefan about three songs into the set.

The night started with hunger and disappointment as the subway I wanted to grab food at had locked its doors just before I made it there. I’m sure I looked like a lion at a zoo, hungry for human flesh, as I paced door to door trying to see if any would open. Naturally, the doors were unlocked two minutes after the bus arrived, so it was far too late. This left everyone on a bus or skytrain with me in grave danger of being devoured at any moment.

Somehow I made it through the trip, and Fat Burger saved my stomach from becoming a white dwarf. As an added bonus, the Media Club is only a few blocks away from the Stadium/China Town skytrain station, which made distance a breeze. I made my way there and got to the doors for 9 PM (great timing as doors were listed as 8).

I love the Media Club. Absolutely love it. It has a great atmosphere, great staff (at least the times I’ve been there), and it’s close and intimate (which are key for a great concert). I’ve previously seen Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, and Small Black and Washed Out at the Media Club and they were some of the best concerts I’ve ever been to. There were only 20-25 people there when I got inside, which made me feel just awful, as Emil Svanängen (Loney, Dear) had come all the way out from Sweden and not gotten the attention he deserved. This turned out to be a good thing though, as it made it a really relaxed show, and things were more interactive and fun than they may have been with a bigger crowd.

Stefan arrived at about 9:20, and things hadn’t started yet, oddly enough, so we chatted about things until 10 PM rolled around and Two Bicycles started things off. Though he apparently doesn’t attach his real name to his music, the fella is also known as Teen Daze, and seems to have had quite a good career made from that. It was just a one man show with an electric guitar, which seemed an odd choice as he played a very mellow quiet (melodically, not volume-wise) set that I likened to a late-90’s emo sound. He played about 5 songs and was very pleased and thankful that the audience was just quiet and enjoyed the sound, and it was alright. Things seemed to get better towards the end, but still not really my thing. Though if that’s the sound you’re looking for, he’s something to seek out.

In-between sets they played a lot of Nick Cave, which was great.

Not really a big deal, but Stefan and I loved it.

At 11 PM Loney, Dear took the stage and took off his shoes; a one-man, Swedish, 12-string playing, controlling-effects-and-looping-with-my-feet, band. He got right into it starting with Name from the new album Hall Music and then Violent from Dear John. By the time he started playing Young Hearts, I was simply blown away. It was everything that I wanted it to be; his timing and pitch were dead on, and the looping he did made it sound like a whole band was up there. On top of that, he was a super friendly guy, making jokes and interacting with the audience, and with the way things had gone (small area with few people just sitting on the floor or whatever was available) it just left me with all-around good feelings.

I Dreamed About You was next; which meant it was accordion time. The tour manager Susanna Johansson came up on stage to play accordion and provide some back-up vocals. As she was clearly a talented person, the ante was upped as Mr. Svanängen started playing the drums as well as he looped his guitar lines. He also brought up that he normally only wears his bright yellow socks when he plays in Paris, so naturally, we were honoured. This continued for the next couple songs as he played My Heart, Loney Blues, and (of course I missed a song) Durmoll, if I’m remembering correctly.

At this point he went to ask the crowd if we had any questions or anything we would like to ask him, as he didn’t take song requests. At this, a voice rose up from the crowd saying “PLAY I AM JOHN”, which was the exact opposite of what he was offering. I am glad that it happened though because after some apprehension, a promise that he’d practice it back home and play it whenever he returned, and then some more hesitation, he played it and other than one forgotten lyric that I noticed, he did a great job of it and gave us exactly what we wanted. So a great many thanks for that honour, we all loved it.

He finished up his set with Saturday Waits and then took his bow and put his shoes back on and walked off the stage to the side of the room as we all went through our encore rigmarole, and then somehow vanished the boots from his feet to finish with Harm/Slow and Dear John.

Once he’d finished up, he said to wait around and he’d come and talk and sign things, which is exactly what he did the moment he got off stage.

All I can say about the night was that even though there were some rough patches here and there, the show was phenomenal. Emil Svanängen has to be one of the nicest musicians I’ve ever met/seen on stage, and his voice and musical ability is incredible. Afterwards I was on a concert high for the rest of the night that’s lasted through to today.

If you ever have the chance to see Loney, Dear, do it.

Especially if you’re near any of the US tour with Of Montreal and Deerhoof, though unfortunately, that probably won’t come close to the intimate night at the Media Club.

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