NewSense Universal Grammar, LCL 365, The Fairmount present

Little Dragon + Billygoat

Live at The Pagoda

Thu Jan 6, 2011
Pagoda Lounge at The Fairmont Hotel
8 pm
$16 - $20
Arts, Bars, Dance, Electronic Music, Lounge, Music


Little Dragon is a Swedish band that plays American music. At least, that's what everyone says. And certainly hearing their dark and deep-grooved electronic neo-soul for the first time, one could just as easily except them to be from Detroit as Gothenburg. But the band's bassist Fredrick Kallgren thinks non-natives are missing something, namely the Swedish flair for good old-fashioned melancholy that's seeped into their records. "Not much sunlight makes people a bit thoughtful and moody," he told me by phone. Maybe that explains why Little Dragon spends as much time as possible in the U.S. Since releasing their self-titled debut in 2007, they've caught on faster over here than on their home turf. Altogether they've been through the U.S. almost half a dozen times now, including a tour with TV on the Radio and this current trip headlining clubs on their own. While the band's newest record hasn't been released yet, they got a huge profile boost earlier this year when they appeared on Gorillaz's Plastic Beach album, and opened for them around the world on the Escape to Plastic Beach Tour. Kallgren admits meeting Damon Albarn for the first time was nerve-wracking. "I guess we were a bit nervous, like a first date," he says. But ultimately, they hit it off. "He played us a bunch of tracks, and we picked two that we really liked ["Empire Ants" and "To Binge"]," says Kallgren. "It was fun, very relaxing and playful." Friends since high school, Kallgren, vocalist Yukimi Nagano and drummer Erik Bodin (who were later joined by keyboardist Hakan Wirenstrand) couldn't agree on what to call their band until, after a lot of "talk and arguments," they were inspired by Nagano's ferocious personality to name themselves after the mythical big lizard. The other part—well, that's another nod to their homeland. "The 'Little' is kind of the Swedish modesty," says Kallgren. "Dragons are big and fiery, but we have to put the 'Little' in there."--Steve Palopoli,

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  1. Pagoda Lounge at The Fairmont Hotel
    170 S Market St, San Jose, CA