Five years had passed since the last time The Cardigans had graced the San Francisco area with their live presence, but with a new record (at least new to US audiences; it dropped in the UK last summer), Long Gone Before Daylight, in stores this week, the Swedish pop minstrels cranked up the touring machine and headed off to the States to tease their fan base with nuggets from the new album, as well as past hits. Saturday nightís show at a special Saturday Night popscene Live Session was no different ñ a showcase of the new material with older favorites sprinkled in to keep the crowd in a frenzy.
After local kids Loquat had set the tone for the sold-out show with their Sundays-influenced indie rock with mesmerizing frontwoman Kylee Swenson leading the way, the Cardigans took the stage to a cacophonous reception from the packed house. Swollen to a six-piece live with the addition of keyboard player/backing vocalist Eva to the already set five-piece family known as The Cardigans, much of Long Gone was aired live; it was an introduction to the album for many fans, but to an equal number, they were live renditions of already-known favorites. Stunning singer Nina Persson had dropped the platinum look for jet black over a year ago, but has now returned to her natural dark blonde/light brown hue and was as captivating as ever, her physical and vocal beauty pairing to provide the masses with a abundance of riches. ìYouíre The Stormî and ìFor What Itís Worthî got the loudest reception, but album tracks like ìA Good Horseî (which was much more rocking live and led one to believe that was the Cardigans REAL calling - a female-fronted full-on rock act), ìFeathers And Down,î and encore-opener ìCommunicationî were all eaten up by the hungry masses. They even had time to throw in yet another Black Sabbath cover (the Cardigans are well-known Sabbath fanatics), but this time it was ìChanges,î although played with a bouncy country bent rather than as a ballad. For the longer-term fans, ìErase & Rewindî and encore-closer ìMy Favorite Gameî were resplendent, the latter extended into a true concert-closing rock epic. After an hour and fifteen minutes, the Swedes exited the stage for the final time, and the crowd cheered for them to return. But it was not a cheer out of disappointment in the set; rather, it was a hopeful chant, one resonating out of a need to spread 75 minutes of joy into something a little longer. Thatíll have to wait until next time, but this joy will last until then.