Efterklang – or “Black Summer” – at the Lexington, London, 29/03/2013

Efterklang‘s show at the Lexington last Friday night was excellent. I’ve been a fan of the melodic, slightly oddball Danes for a few years now, and I’ve been lucky enough to see them in a variety of forms.

The first time was in a packed Academy 3 in Manchester. This low-key show was notable for Academy 1 simultaneously playing host to Europe, which caused Efterklang to ask for dead silence at one point in the night, in the hope that the familiar strains of The Final Countdown would seep through the walls…

The next show, some time later, was at Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall, with the band being joined by various extra performers and an orchestra to help them bring their latest LP Piramida to life. It was a special show – partly for its association with the memory of Lisa agreeing to marry me at another point over the weekend, and partly down to the sit-down-and-take-it-all-in vibe which comes with a classical setting and a venue on the scale of the Bridgewater Hall.

Last Friday’s show was different again, with the band dubbing themselves Black Summer – maybe due to them really only being in London very briefly to open for Foals at the Royal Albert Hall the night before. This temporary moniker was dealt with early on, with singer Casper Clausen wryly explaining that Black Summer were a new band with a penchant for covering songs by some Danish band called Efterklang…

The band looked great – with the core Efterklang trio joined by a female singer, a multi-instrumentalist and singer, and a fantastic drummer – and they sounded even better. I’ve really fallen for Efterklang’s trademark pairing of Casper’s bowtie and bassist Rasmus’ chilled-out, moustachioed smirk. They always look so happy and grateful as they play.

And what an intimate venue in which to see a band like this. The Lexington holds something like 200 people and, although the gig was sold out many weeks in advance, there was room to breathe and Lisa and I were unashamed in our meander to the front in the minutes before the band walked onstage.

The sound was fantastic, and a large-scale lightshow was transformed into the Lexington’s tiny room, lending many tracks a very ethereal, special vibe. One member of the crowd asked the band how this show differed to their previous night’s set at the Royal Albert Hall. Casper struggled for a diplomatic response, simply replying that, “it’s…different.” Later, however, he was quick to gush with praise and gratitude for the crowd helping to make this inaugural Black Summer performance something very special indeed.

Throw in some fun back-and-forths with the crowd, an unplugged, acoustic encore involving percussion with various bottles and glasses, and a mutual showing of respect and love between both crowd and performers, and by all accounts this was a very special show. Lisa and I were honoured to be right down the front lapping it all up.

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