Lykke Li, Heaven, London
Wednesday 10 November 2010
Swedish indie-popstrel Lykke Li has been setting blogs abuzz with a new single, and at this sold-out gig, excitement fizzes through the crowd during a slow build, as Li stands with her back to us, swathed in a black cape. Opening with an infectious new track, "Youth", she writhes around the stage, all long hair and long legs, tassels flying from her leather shorts as she dances. As with many of the current swathe of young electro-pop artists, it seems as much about the performance as the music.
Next up is "I'm Good I'm Gone", Li whacking two drumsticks together over her head like a wild conductor of the crashing drums and cymbals (she's accompanied by two percussionists as well as guitars and keyboards).
Live, her music is a more intense affair; the distinctive little-girl vocals transform into something powerful and sultry, while her skittish rhythms, almost tinny on record, are supplemented by boot-shaking bass.
The new material is well received: "I Follow Rivers" seems to capture the crowd's imagination with its clanging percussion and synthy riff, while the Bat for Lashes-esque "Jerome" pairs more ticking, clicking beats with a rousing chorus.
"Little Bit", perhaps her biggest hit, is greeted warmly, although Li sounds less coy and fragile than on record. The performance is still suitably yearning however, as she cajoles "Come here, stay with me, stroke me by the hair/'cause I would give anything to have you as my man".
On her hymn to dancing instead of talking, "Dance Dance Dance", she sings "my hips they lie, 'cause in reality I'm shy, shy, shy". Gyrating said hips to a dirty, deep bass before rocking out on the drums, she hardly seems shy – but it's a cute sentiment.
"Get Some" is the super catchy new track, and although the lyrics "I'm your prostitute, you're gon' get some" feel in somewhat dubious taste, the crowd is happy to sing along. Guess it's all just part of the performance.
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