If there was any doubt that Lykke Li
was about to make it big, her show this monday at the Highline Ballroom was enough to convert all naysayers. By the numbers: the petite Swede sold out the 700-capacity venue on a Monday night, even with tickets heftily priced at $35. Was it worth the hype? Absolutely. A vision in strobe lights, Lykke performed her songs with an impressive stage presence and a sense of humor guaranteed to catapult her to star status.
The set opened with fan favorite, "Dance Dance Dance." The song started quietly and ended with a near-tribal freakout as Li, wielding a single drumstick, attacked a cymbal with a ferocity you wouldn't expect from listening to the cutesy Youth Novels. If this was meant to wake up the audience, it succeeded all eyes were fastened on Li, who held the crowd's breathless attention until the very end.
Looking like a straight-haired Shakira but sounding like baby Bjork, Li switched effortlessly between sexy and vulnerable, sashaying around the stage in torn pantyhose during "I'm Good, I'm Gone," but covering her face for most of "Little Bit." Just as the little girl lost act was getting believable, Li set the tone for the rest of the set by exclaiming "Somebody get me some whiskey because we're about to do a techno dance party!"
Both the minimalist "Complaint Department" and the danceable cryfest "Let it Fall" were turned into primal rave tracks punctuated by Li's drummer whaling on the drums mercilessly, as if performing an exorcism. Though the drummer was the highlight of the rhythm-centric ensemble, the keyboardist and bassist rounded out the sound and lent their voices on an eerie chorus for a new track. Throughout the set, Li played the tambourine, the kazoo, and even sang through a megaphone, giving select choruses a bit of otherworldliness.
Hiding in Li's bag of tricks were three impressive covers a soulful, stripped-down version of Kings of Leon's "Knocked Up," and believe it or not, Lil Wayne's "A Milli." For the encore, Li sang "Will You Love Me Tomorrow" and when the audience replied with a resounding "YES" Li quipped, "Then why do you buy Lady Gaga's album and not mine?"
With every performance, Li has stepped up her act, to demonstrate that she's a born star, capable of delightful and unexpected things. (For an idea of what to expect, check out Baeble's exclusive footage
of Li's 2008 show at the Bowery Ballroom!) We can only hope she will bring the same talent and energy to her next release. However, while Lady Gagas come and go, Li has something unique going for her and regardless of the blowout shows, we hope she stays true to her quirky roots. -Nina Mashurova
Lykke Li on Tour
Jun 6 - Dramaten w/ Coco Rosie - Stockholm
Jun 20 - Hurricane Festival - Scheeel
Jun 21 - Southside Festival - Tuttlingen
Jun 22 - Hove Festival - Tromy
Jun 25 - Peace & Love Festival - Borlange
Jul 11 - Alive Festival - Maritimo
Jul 17 - Latitude Festival - Suffolk
Jul 19 - Benicassim Festival - Benicassim
Aug 1 - Osheaga Music and Arts Festival - Montreal
Aug 2 - All Points West - New Jersey, New York
Aug 6 - Pabst Theater - Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Aug 8 - Lollapalooza Festival - Chicago
Aug 9 - Sound Academy - Toronto
Aug 15 - Beatday - Copenhagen
Sep 4 - Electric Picnic Festival - Stradbally Hall, Co. Laois
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