Live review: Lykke Li at Empty Bottle
Showing up at 11pm at the Bottle on a Saturday night one doesn’t expect to stand around for 50 minutes to some faux soundchecking nonsense on the Bottle stage before a set from Sweden’s latest pop sensation—but we did just that on Saturday night. It was sold out. Evidently there was some kind of miscommunication about set times and the Friendly Fires (who I really dig) played way early (damn) and Lykke Li and band went on a bit late. Whatever the deal was, Sweden's Lykke Li did a fine job of making us forget the boring no-music time. She took the stage in some kind of capelike black formless outfit and metallic medallions that made her look like a Nordic pagan witch as she banged a crash cymbal for “Dance, Dance, Dance.” Her drummer often just played a floor tom and cymbal—only taking the kit and electronic pads for more beat driven numbers like “I’m Good, I’m Gone.” Li also played a kazoo type thing in place of the sax solo on "Dance." The sparse tunes on her album actually made for nice rockin considering they’re mainly just keys and bass. Li’s own moves are a hybrid of hippy and hip-hop girl swaying and gave her songs visual rhythms that don’t actually exist on record. No one danced as much as bopped—which she seemed ultra aware of, dedicating a tune: “this is for you who is leaning against the wall.” The band slipped a bit of a Vampire Weekend song in a breakdown but not for long. Thankfully, that was a bit too cute. The good news? Li can sing above a whisper and hold our attention for a full 45 minutes and remain mysteriously, impenetrabily sassy. But a syrupy intro to an encore lost me completely and I suddenly was sick of waiting around for something good.