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last night's gig

Jens Lekman Makes Up With New York

Two years ago, Jens Lekman — the Swedish singer-songwriter and unofficial king of self-deprecating indie-pop — broke up with New York. Friday at Brooklyn's Green House, Lekman explained to the bewitched crowd that a 2008 relocation to the Big Apple hadn't quite panned out: “New York is a city for the lovers and the dreamers. But when that dream ends, it puts you on the Q train to Coney Island in the middle of winter where you wander around in the cold.” It got big laughs.

There was also some music. What started off as a hushed acoustic set ramped up gradually in tempo and volume, with Lekman managing to touch on nearly every corner of his discography over the course of the night. Sprinkled between classics like “Black Cab,” “Kanske Ar Jag Kar I Dig,” and “Taste the Sweet Nectar” were a handful of new songs. Overly detailed, simultaneously sad-sack and hopeful, and epic even in stripped-down form, they were distinctly Jens and rapturously received. (Details about a follow-up album are still sketchy, but new standouts “I Want a Pair of Cowboy Boots” and “The End of the World Is Bigger Than Love" are available in some forms online.) The minimalist showmanship was superb: Notes were punctuated with jokey rock-star poses, shuffling dance steps grew more animated as the evening progressed, and the rare-but-not-unprecedented "air xylophone" move was even deployed. Looking around, Vulture saw oodles of superfans with their eyes clenched tight, shouting along to every word. These days, New York is treating Jens much better.

There was also some music. What started off as a hushed acoustic set ramped up gradually in tempo and volume, with Lekman managing to touch on nearly every corner of his discography over the course of the night. Sprinkled between classics like “Black Cab,” “Kanske Ar Jag Kar I Dig,” and “Taste the Sweet Nectar” were a handful of new songs. Overly detailed, simultaneously sad-sack and hopeful, and epic even in stripped-down form, they were distinctly Jens and rapturously received. (Details about a follow-up album are still sketchy, but new standouts “I Want a Pair of Cowboy Boots” and “The End of the World Is Bigger Than Love" are available in some forms online.) The minimalist showmanship was superb: Notes were punctuated with jokey rock-star poses, shuffling dance steps grew more animated as the evening progressed, and the rare-but-not-unprecedented "air xylophone" move was even deployed. Looking around, Vulture saw oodles of superfans with their eyes clenched tight, shouting along to every word. These days, New York is treating Jens much better.

Photo: Michael Buckner/Getty Images