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Little Dragon At The El Rey Theatre: Review

Aeri Koo |
October 18, 2013 | 6:27 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

Little Dragon made a rare appearance at their sold out show at the El Rey Theatre on Thursday night.

The dimly lit theatre looked regal with its tall ceilings and glowing chandeliers. Fans started tightly gathering around the dance floor as they waited for the show to begin.

Little Dragon's Yukimi Nagano making a rare appearance at the El Rey Theatre (Aeri Koo/Neon Tommy).
Little Dragon's Yukimi Nagano making a rare appearance at the El Rey Theatre (Aeri Koo/Neon Tommy).

Setting the mood was Sza, pronounced "si-zah," the 23-year-old whose soul-quenching voice instantly enticed the crowd. Although the singer hasn’t been in the music scene for too long, Sza seemed comfortable onstage dressed in only a long jersey dress and a curly head of hair.

As she gently swayed side to side, the connection she had with her microphone was alluring throughout her performance. Her hands wrapped gently around her microphone, as her fingers slowly curled around the stand.  She sings into her microphone so softly, regularly closing her eyes, as her lyrics are deep and passionate.

After Sza’s short 30-minute performance, fans waited in the crowd for Little Dragon’s appearance. After a long intermission, the curtains opened, but anticipation built as we could only see a cloud of fog diffusing within the dim blue light.

Finally, after a buildup of anticipative tunes, the theatre was filled with claps and screams as the stage got brighter and Yukimi Nagano made her way onstage.

Yukimi Nagano, the vocalist of Little Dragon, was born in Gothenburg, Sweden to a Swedish mother and Japanese father. With three other members from high school, the band formed in 1996 to become Little Dragon.

Fun fact: the name Little Dragon came from Yukimi Nagano's temper tantrums while recording in the studio.

The performance started off with Nagano’s back to the crowd, slowly dancing her way towards the front of the stage with her long curls covering her face.

Even with the success of Little Dragon, Nagano has maintained a very private lifestyle. Throughout the performance she remained mysterious, seldom showing the front of her face. She was usually turned towards the back, and fans couldn’t take their eyes offstage in hopes of seeing the Swedish-Japanese beauty. 

Yukimi Nagano gave off a mysterious presence throughout the performance (Aeri Koo/Neon Tommy).
Yukimi Nagano gave off a mysterious presence throughout the performance (Aeri Koo/Neon Tommy).

Little Dragon’s style is unlike any other musical talent. The distinct R&B style is influenced by dreamy tunes and soulful vocals. With a kick of electronica and futuristic vibes, these funky tracks are surely one of a kind.

With two albums out, the band was unfortunately only able to perform a few songs such as “A New,"“Precious," and “Crystalfilm."

Throughout the night, Nagano took several breaks to dance with her tambourine and fully immerse herself into her performance. Her Japanese-inspired metallic kimono swayed with her, as she continued to confidently show off her mystical dance moves.

During “Ritual Union," Nagano fearlessly faced the crowd as they soon transformed into her paparazzi. Her piercing stare made the performance more riveting, and fans held onto their phones to snap photos of her rare appearance.

Shortly after, fans were saddened when Nagano announced, “we have one more song for you guys!” The audience turned into a whisper of “only one more?” as they prepared for what seemed like the last song of the night.

During her last song, “Twice," the lights formed an "X" on the middle of the stage, with Nagano placed in the middle spotlight. Everyone was in awe as her kimono sparkled between the lights that embraced her magical presence – no one was able to take their eyes off of her.

Once the members thanked the crowd and walked off stage, there was a never-ending blend of clapping and whistling from the crowd wanting more. The noise progressively got louder as the band stepped back onstage for an encore. 

Stage lights shining against Yukimi Nagano's metallic kimono (Aeri Koo/Neon Tommy).
Stage lights shining against Yukimi Nagano's metallic kimono (Aeri Koo/Neon Tommy).

Part two of their encore performance consisted of “Summertearz," “Feather," and “Little Man." For the majority of the first act, the crowd was silent as they were overwhelmed with awe. But during “Little Man”, everyone was dancing and singing along to the familiar tunes.

Nagano ended the night by showing off some dance moves and introducing the rest of the Swedish band members. Although no one wanted the night to end, the band slowly started taking turns walking offstage.

Little Dragon is said to have finished their fourth album, which is set to release in the upcoming spring.

Read more of NT's show reviews here.

Reach Staff Reporter Aeri Koo here.



 

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