Having just caught Lykke Li‘s set at Fun Fun Fun fest over the weekend, I was among the minority of those who knew what to except at the Ogden Theatre on Friday night. The Swedish pop singer has been making waves across the sea for a couple years now, but nothing on the radio, on her albums or the hundreds of remixes could prepare you for what she brings to the stage. To be honest, I was doubtful she could fill the late slot down in Austin, but after that incredible performance on that windy night, I was doubtful the Ogden would be big enough to house her sound. It was 10:20pm when the room began to fill with fog, swimming around the black fabric that hung all the way from the ceiling to the stage, and the bass line reverberated through the sold-out(?) crowd. It was dark, the tension palpable, and although the sound threatened to expand itself beyond the confines of the theatre and out into the cold Colorado streets, Lykke Li came out just in time — the calm before the storm in the form of Jerome.
The shadow play, the black cape and the draped fabrics; the four piece band, backup singer and earth-shaking percussion; the drums sticks, the megaphone and the tribal interludes (including a cover of The Knife‘s Silent Shout) — this all added up to one thing…sex! If you Google images of Lykke Li and you will find an average looking girl. Depending on the shot, she might even be cute. But up there on the stage, she is the sexiest person on the planet. Guys and girls, boyfriends and girlfriends, husbands and wives — all falling for the girl in black.
Over the next hour, Ms. Li took us through Wounded Rhymes in its entirety — arguably her best work to date. Sadness Is A Blessing and Jerome were the slow burners. Love Of Out Lust and Rich Kid Blues had the place dancing like it was the end of the world, and Get Some ran the risk of public displays of affection beyond what is legal in the state of Colorado. The Stevie Nicks similarities were on display track after track. For those who have been fans from the beginning, she included the hits from 2008‘s Youth Novels — Dance, Dance, Dance, I’m Good, I’m Gone and Little Bit all found their way into the short set. And that brings me to the only complaint of the night — the set was way too short.
Performing an entire album, hits from the past and a cover of Unchained Melody (‘you need a love song that’s not mine‘) might seem like a full set, but it just wasn’t enough. She was scheduled for 90 minutes, but even counting the instrumental intro and time before encore, she clocked in at just over an hour. She might not have the catalogue that Stevie Nicks has, but a few more songs from Youth Novels wouldn’t have hurt. That being said, even if she would have performed every song she has, we would have still been left wanting more. This really is a performance to be seen. Don’t miss her if she comes through your town!
The Swedish folk band, First Aid Kit, opened the show and I wish we would have been around the see them. Judging by the couple songs we heard, they were really good. I was thinking a Swedish Neko Case when a girl next to me mentioned a female Fleet Foxes. Either way, I think they were better than either of those artists and are a band to check out.
I’m Good, I’m Gone
Sadness is a Blessing
I Follow Rivers
Dance Dance Dance
I Know Places
Love Out Of Lust
Rich Kid Blues / Silent Shout (partial The Knife cover)
Youth Knows No Pain / Power (partial Kanye cover)
Unchained Melody (The Righteous Brothers cover)