In November electro group Little Dragon returned once more to Bristol. Backed by neon lights, an eclectic wardrobe and more energy than a nuclear power station, the foursome from Gothenburg taught us a lesson in how to put on a show.

Credit: Nik Hartley
Credit: Nik Hartley

Little Dragon managed to seamlessly intertwine their older upbeatmaterial with their newer, more atmospheric material, kicking off the night with ‘A New’ from their 2009 album, Machine Dreams. Its slow progressive intro sent a buzz of excitement across the room and grabbed the crowd’s attention.

Next up was ‘Killing Me’, the first track from their new album. Its tenacious bass line and impenetrable beat had the whole crowd stomping and set the night up perfectly for the electro dance madness that was in store.

During an extended version of ‘Test’ Yukimi Nagano took on and conquered some of the most bizarre futuristic dance moves I’ve seen, all whilst wearing a dress reminiscent of a deck chair and a silver sequin baseball cap. Throughout the night she had a tambourine hanging off one arm acting as both an instrument and a snazzy elbow bracelet. Pulling off such a mix match outfit is no mean feat, but Nagano managed it effortlessly and for that I hold my hands up to her.

‘Underbart’, ‘Pretty Girls’ and ‘Cat Power’ slowed the pace and showed us that Little Dragon are more than just a dance group. The haunting vocals of Yukimi projected across the Academy, beguiled the swaying audience into a trance like state of awe.

Changing the vibe once more, Little Dragon turned to their 2011 breakthrough album, Ritual Union. They played 3 tracks, ‘Precious’, ‘Shuffle a Dream’ and ‘Ritual Union’ which of course made evoked a huge response from the crowd.

Finally we got to hear the first and most upbeat single from their new album. ‘Klapp Klapp’s’ bass line had everyone bopping along and for a small woman, Nagano managed to bring the house down with their penultimate song.

They closed on a more ambient note with ‘Only One’ carried along perfectly Nagano’s soulful, dream like vocals. She left the stage and we were treated to an extended, percussion heavy finish from the remaining members with the the flashing strobes and heavy house beats making everyone go off on one. I could even hear the older guy standing next to me complain that not enough people were going mental.

The song ended and the remaining members left the stage. The crowd screamed out for an encore and a few moments later the band reappeared. The unmistakable sound of ‘Twice’ reverberated across the O2 and the crowd could finally leave feeling content. ‘Twice’ sounded even better live than it does on the album and I know I wasn’t alone in feeling a sense of gratitude towards Little Dragon for making it so.

It was a perfect end to one of the best gig’s I’ve been to this year. Little Dragon are a band designed to be on stage, Nagano’s presence is overwhelming and together all the little idiosyncrasies of the band give them the quirky, unique sound we love. They thanked Bristol for being such a brilliant audience and left as the crowd clapped them off.

 By Hannah Rooke