Little Dragon

Helen Herimbi

Little Dragon are big dance music fans. Especially South African house music.

The MOAD Building in the Maboneng Precinct was packed. Like sweaty palms, pushing hipster shirts out of the way, and girls with box braids wriggling their way from the bar queues to the front of the room. That packed.

But what made most of us forget about just how many people had come out to see the Swedish band live and direct is the fact that they made everyone move.

The Gothenburg band were brought to SA by adidas Originals and the Cape Town-based blog, We-Are-Awesome, as the headliners of the second adidas Originals Live Performances Series.

They performed in Cape Town on Friday and hit up Joburg on Saturday night with Jacobsnake, Christian Tiger School and Felix Laband as the supporting acts. And while the local acts definitely held their own, it became increasingly clear from how restless people were becoming that everyone was anticipating finally seeing the band who have brought us three amazing albums to date.

Little Dragon are ethereal vocalist Yukimi Nagano (whose percussion instrument was brightly coloured), bassist Fredrik Källgren Wallin, Håkan Wirenstrand on keys and drummer Erik Bodin.

Seeing as they opted to perform a high-energy up-tempo set instead of delivering some of the more soulful and experimental joints they’ve come to be known for, it was amazing to see how much they “got” the South African audience.

About half an hour into their live performance in Joburg, the petite frontwoman of the band was name-dropping DJ Oskido and other house DJs that she said Little Dragon were big fans of.

Bodin was really the star of the show if you consider how he got the crowd moving in his solo sections where the music was stripped down and he was allowed to just go wild.

When Nagano, sporting a floppy hat and round glasses, stepped on to the stage, it wasn’t difficult to think of Yoko Ono. But that’s where the comparisons stop. Unlike the love of John Lennon’s life, Yukimi can sing.

Thankfully we got to experience the full range of her voice when, during the encore, she sang the hugely popular Twice.

It was the only slow jam played, but looking at everyone who was sweating with smiles on their faces, the up-tempo set was a good call.