Lykke Li, gig review: Swedish singer is magnetic in her misery

Hammersmith Apollo, London

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The Independent Culture

Lykke Li could be the power ballad queen for a Girls generation.

Her latest album, Never Learn, is the result of the mother of all breaks-ups, a devastating split that caused the Swedish singer to move 5,500 miles away from her European home to LA. The song titles alone were indicative of the tone of her Hammersmith Apollo gig, which featured “Sadness Is A Blessing”, “Sleeping Alone” and “Never Gonna Love Again”. It’s telling when “Get Some”, about metaphorical prostitution, feels positively upbeat.

The quality of Li’s voice is indisputable; it’s searingly powerful and full of emotion – her grief is palpable and all-encompassing and she is magnetic to watch. The audience was often left with just her silhouette dancing wildly amid the smoke-filled stage, like a gothic leather-wearing pixie. There was a dark intensity to her performance that was both disquieting and impressive.

Li’s gig didn’t offer much in the way of diversity and if you weren’t in the mood for wallowing and luxuriating in misery, then her show wouldn’t have satisfied. However, for an androgynous audience wearing angular haircuts, sombre black uniforms and equally muted expressions, this was musical catharsis at its best.