I heard a lot of people say Jens Lekman was the new Stephin Merritt or the new Neil Hannon, but now, having seen him tonight at the Old Music Hall, I’m pretty sure he’s the new Jonathan Richman. Songs about whimsy, songs about nostalgia, songs about unexceptional daily events made big by means of deeply felt singing. Audience participation. Little stories, backed with strumming, between and included within the songs.
Physically he’s very different — part of the Jonathan Richman experience is seeing a guy who looks like a tight end sing like an elf. Lekman actually does look like an elf. His band, too — elves in smocks. Except for the DJ, who is extravagantly tall and ungainly, yet dances so smoothly that he appears to be a Twin Peaks character inserted into the scene at the last minute.