The Swedish electropop band Little Dragon is weird — there’s no better way to say it, which is why a guy in the crowd turned around every few minutes and said that exactly that to his friend: “They’re so weird.”
Decked out in the mildly avant garde, with glittery butterfly pants and a dress made of translucent neon frills reminiscent of a highlighter-yellow jellyfish, the band traipsed up on stage during the slot originally slated for A Tribe Called Quest once unexpected travel circumstances prevented the latter group from playing (the band eventually canceled its performance entirely).
Little Dragon produces a brand of electronic pop-rock that can only be described as dark. Heavy synths swished through its setlist, pinned down by a pounding kick drum. Vocalist and percussionist Yukimi Nagano’s voice, at times sharp and at times liquid, rose and fell in tandem with the beat, her volume fading in and out of the synths.
She danced as if possessed: twirling around the stage, rocking her body to the drums, wrapping herself in rainbow tulle; it was simultaneously inexplicable and mesmerizing. Nagano’s motions are best described as the opposite of fluid, contrasting the low insistency of the synths. They buzzed lightly at all times, lending the performance a level of sonic consistency amid the crashing drum kit played out at ear-splitting decibels.
The audience received the bizarreness typical of Little Dragon’s performances with happy dancing — they bopped and bobbed perkily in time to the beat — surprising for music so thick with sonic dissonance.
The culmination of the band’s set felt like a swirling amalgamation of sound — the musical melodies were often lost in favor of the growing weight of the sonic landscape being created by the four-piece. But what the members of Little Dragon and the fans at Outside Lands proved is you can dance your heart out without a prominent melody.
Daniel Kim/Senior Staff
Olivia Jerram covers music. Contact her at [email protected].