Saturday, February 21, 2009

Lykke Li Plays Dallas

I had been wanting to see Lykke Li live since I narrowly missed seeing her perform at a record store in L.A. right before the Radiohead concert last August, so I was excited to hear that she would be coming to Dallas. The concert was last Wednesday night.

I arrived right about the time that the doors opened. There wasn’t a big crowd though, so it didn’t take long to get in. I headed from the lobby to the theater only to run in to an employee who told me I couldn’t go in yet because the band was still doing a soundcheck. So I waited by the door for about 10 minutes until they were done. It sounded pretty good, but I didn’t recognize the songs they were playing. When we were let in I grabbed a spot right up front just to the right of the microphone at center stage.

The opening act was a local musician, Sarah Jaffe. I was actually excited to get to see her because I have seen numerous raves on one of the local blogs that I frequent. Those raves are spot on. Sarah has an amazing voice. You can check out some of her songs on her MySpace. I bought her EP after the show, and I hope to see her again someday.

There was a pretty long wait in between while they set up for Lykke Li. They deploy a giant screen over the stage so you can’t see what they’re doing while they set up. After a while the screen finally came up, but it was several more minutes until Lykke Li and crew actually appeared, which was kind of weird.

The band came out first and started playing, followed by Lykke Li, who was dressed in a long-sleeved black outfit and stylishly ripped block stockings. She had all kinds of weird bling around her neck, and rings on just about every finger. The first song was “Dance, Dance, Dance”, which is one of my favorites of hers. It sounded really good. The drummer was playing a standalone floor tom that was about 2 feet from my face. You can see a partial clip here.

No shrinking violet is Lykke Li. She seems like she was born to be a performer. She has a great stage presence and was constantly in motion. It reminded me of Eugene Hutz from Gogol Bordello because of the similar challenges it presented in taking photos. She likes to say she has “swagger”, and I guess as far as a slightly-built Swedish woman can have swagger, she has it. She didn’t engage in a lot of between-song banter, but she did encourage audience participation a few times.

I think she has a really unique voice, and it came through better in person than I thought it might. I thought her band was really good too.

I was wondering before the show just how long it might be, seeing as how with only one album to her name there wasn’t a lengthy list of original material to draw from. I figured she would do some covers too, which she did. Those included Kings of Leon, Lil Wayne, and Q-Tip! Yes, LL raps, but it’s awesome. I mean, she’s not M.I.A. or anything, but she can work it out. The best part was when the majority of the crowd supplied the “Yes You Can” refrain to the Q-Tip song.

Even with the covers, though, this was the shortest show I’ve ever been to. LL played about an hour and 10 minutes or so including encore. Which makes Aimee Mann look like Bruce Springsteen! I definitely wanted more, but I can’t say that I was disappointed because what I did see was so enthralling. Quality over quantity I suppose. You can compare this concert to an espresso – a short burst of intense flavor. You know what they say in showbiz – “always leave ‘em wanting more”. I do hope that her shows will grow as her repertoire does.

Here is a video that I found on Youtube of "Tonight" from this show. This is almost the exact view that I had. I'm not sure, but that may be the back of my head at the bottom of the frame at one point.

You can see any of these photos larger by clicking on them. As an added bonus (ha!), I found a photo that someone took of me enjoying the show here.

Sarah Jaffe

The kid next to me got a setlist. I actually totally forgot about trying to get one. I was busy looking at some of the shots on my camera when someone handed it to him.



Blogger Vesper de Vil said...

Your photos are excellent and should be on a LL fan site!!!

I'd love to see her live, as I have a feeling she'd be better live than her album. I found the album a tad bit yawn-inducing, but I think it's because her energy doesn't come through as much. When I see videos of her doing spontaneous performances or concerts, this is what makes me believe in her talent and abilities.

2/21/2009 9:49 AM  
Blogger Vedrana M. said...

great photos, again i'm happy you had nice time...i hope to see lykke li one day soon here in europe :)

2/21/2009 11:12 AM  
Blogger JC said...

vesper - thank you! I love taking concert photos because the lighting is usually quite dramatic, and I like that serendipity plays such a big part in getting a good shot. Especially when the subject moves as much as Lykke Li. Her energy live is amazing!

vedrana - thanks! I hope you get to see her too.

3/01/2009 10:30 PM  

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