Lykke Li at Brixton Academy
Lykke Li returned to London for her first headline show since 2014 to a venue big enough for her unique voice, if not her fanbase. The reason for why the show didn’t sell out may be reflected in her lack of major chart success in Britain but, as tonight verified, it’s her distinctive vocals that are certified platinum.
Supported by a band and one backing vocalist, the Swedish singer took the stage in an entirely latex attire against an eye-catching background formed by an expanded variation of the artwork of her latest album So Sad So Sexy. Nothing or nobody on the striking production upstaged the beauty of her live vocals, which were as silky and evocative as they are on her records.
The artist used her physicality as an effective tool of performance. There was storytelling in her motions related to her emotions: for songs about indulgence like Sex Money Feelings Die and Jaguars in the Air she strutted around executing various movements in a sort-of shadowboxing dance. For her signature heartbreak material, she was more reserved behind the mic.
The setlist was largely based on Li’s new album but didn’t ignore older pieces. Hearing her breakthrough single Little Bit was outstanding, with an updated melody that sounded less like the whimsical electronic track we know and something closer to the sonic majesties of her third LP I Never Learn, like No Rest for the Wicked and Just Like a Dream (both which were sung too). Likewise, the exciting transition within I Follow Rivers from the original version to The Magicians’ remix was unforgettable.
Following on from her previous tour when she exquisitely covered Drake’s Hold on We’re Going Home, here she gave her take on Usher’s U Got It Bad for the finale. Perhaps one of her own works, like the conspicuously absent Gunshot, would have been more fitting as the closer but her adaptation of the R&B hit with that singular indie pop sound was a marvel.
If there was a downside to this beautiful evening, it was that the concert could have run at least 20 minutes longer. This was acknowledged by the star herself who stated, “Sorry I couldn’t give you more songs!” at the encore, knowing the crowd would appreciate more gems from her superb discography. Good on her, though, for being considerate of any concerns of getting home too late on a Sunday.
Photo: Miguel de Melo
For further information and future events visit Lykke Li’s website here.
Watch the video for Hard Rain here: