Herman Dune – Live Review

229, London, September 9th 2009

Written by Satu Fox

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The luridly lit room at 229 last night, was curiously full of loved-up couples and it’s not even Spring – but Herman Dune‘s music and personal charm quickly made it clear what attracted us all to their headline slot at the Fistful of Fandango festival.

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Herman Dune have been around for an astonishingly long time (nearly 10 years), yet have stayed at a level where they still perform to pretty small audiences. This seems an act by choice, as tonight, everyone was enamored. I was almost brand-new to the folky charms of the band, consisting of two emaciated, vegetarian brothers from Sweden, but the setlist was populated with what could be called their greatest hits. The wistful lovers’ prayer “My Home is Nowhere Without You” managed to feel sweet and heartfelt despite the familiar theme of being far away from the object of one’s affection.

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Bearded lead singer David-Ivar tells many stories about women he has loved, with a Leonard Cohen type ability to make you feel the tenderness of a relationship moment. One song has a heartbreaking verse that is just a repetition of a boy being told by his mother that she loves his brother more; but at the end the girl wakes up in the morning sun and tells him she loves him. You could be right there with him.

After an opening interlude with just David-Ivar and his guitar, the rest of the band joins him for a more sunny pop-infused section. Things get so sunny that at one point, the drummer jumps up to take the mic and tells the security man off for trying to stop the crowd dancing. “These girls were dancing very nicely,” he said seriously.

Herman Dune as a group come across as very lovely young men, possibly because of the accents that remind me of every kind and serious young man from abroad I’ve ever known – the band have roots in Sweden, France, Switzerland and Israel. Their music put its arms out this evening and gave 229 a big old hug.

The Fistful of Fandango festival continues tonight headlined by Future of the Left.

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