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LondonNet Review
LondonNet: London Music Guide

I'm From Barcelona

Saturday January 27, 2007 at ULU

Buy We're From Barcelona (2006) at Amazon >>
Buy Let Me Introduce My Friends (2006) at Amazon >>

Upon hearing about a band as massive as I'm From Barcelona (they're from Sweden, actually), it's difficult to imagine the translation to the stage. A gaggle of musicians is an amusing idea, but as I stood at ULU waiting for I'm From Barcelona to take the stage I couldn't help but wonder a few things. Most importantly, can that stage really hold 20 people? Also, how exactly can a band so large not just sound like a cacophonous mess?

Well, it turned out that the stage could hold that many (and far, far more), and the music wasn't a cacophonous mess. It was an almost overwhelming wall of jubilation and fun and whimsy and any other adjectives that can help me describe just how amazingly great I'm From Barcelona is live.

Though not quite every member seemed to be there (there are 29 in total, but I only counted 17 here), it was certainly plenty. When your bassist is stuck playing somewhere behind the drummer, you are taking full advantage of every square inch of the stage. As the band ran onstage bearing confetti, balloons, and a bubble machine, the stream of members seemed almost never ending. It was like watching a magician pull an endless scarf out of his sleeve, if that scarf then proceeded to rock your world.

From the first moment they entered, the band held the entire crowd completely enraptured. By the end of opening song Treehouse, lead singer and I'm From Barcelona brainchild Emanuel Lundgren was surfing across the crowd as the band played on. However, this wasn't just a band member leaping out into the crowd. This was an adoring public lifting up its idol of the moment. The glee on the faces of everyone carrying him was a delightful break from the scowl that the standard indie kid displays.

The set consisted of one highlight after another. Whether the band was breaking into a Like a Prayer cover mid-song, sending a song into an extended kazoo breakdown (featuring four audience members providing that extra kazoo boost), or hopping offstage to mingle with the crowd so that Lundgren and two band mates could perform their little Grizzly Man-inspired ditty this was simultaneously the most chaotic and the happiest gig I have ever seen. Also there was breakdancing and everybody loves breakdancing.

Following an encore including a new song seemingly inspired by yet another film (The Life Aquatic this time), the band threw on a remix of their song We're From Barcelona and brought a large portion of the crowd onstage to dance with them. And with this, it was made abundantly clear (if it wasn't already, that is) that whatever that special "it" is, I'm From Barcelona has "it". Their infectious indie pop is free from any sort of restraints whatsoever. They are just here to move us. And they do an excellent job of that.

1. Treehouse
2. Oversleeping
3. Rec & Play
4. Collection of Stamps
5. Chicken Pox
6. (Grizzly Man song)
7. We're From Barcelona
8. The Painter
9. Ola Kala
10. (Life Aquatic song)
11. Jenny

- Kevin Garnett

Buy We're From Barcelona (2006) at Amazon >>
Buy Let Me Introduce My Friends (2006) at Amazon >>