Lollapalooza 2011, Saturday: Lykke Li
"I'm going to show you an easy way to get laid. You gotta get some honey," Lykke Li told the crowd. Wearing a sort of cut-off raincoat and knee-high boots, the Swede instructed, "You gotta dance like this." She sunk and gyrated her knee. "And sing like this."
The 25-year-old does this at every concert, very, very well, and therefore must get more sex than James Bond. And if that's the case, why is her new album, Wounded Rhymes, so beautifully sad? But that is what makes her so great. She is a downer and a dancer. She can gut you with one of her nihilist gospel numbers or elate with a a triumphant gem of tribal-pop brilliance like "I Follow Rivers." As haunting and spare as her two records may be, Li is a twirling, percussive presence onstage. She clacks drumsticks and swerves to her backing band, a bassist, drummer, two organists and a towering supermodel soul singer.
"I'm so shy and you're so sweet," Li said, before a cover of a Burt Bacharach winner for the Drifters, "(Don't Go) Please Stay." Perhaps as a confidence boost, the diminuative brunette snuck a nip from what looked like a little airplane liquor bottle. Or maybe it was a 5 Hour Energy.
"Dance Dance Dance" featured the biggest theme of the Festival, a dude going apeshit on a floor tom (see: Foster the People, Walk the Moon), and little else. On "I Know Places," Li strummed a zither. She can strip a song to its skeleton and somehow make it more powerful, and workable for a festival.
"If you have something to light up, this is the time," she said before "I Know Places." The guy in front of me tapped nugs out of an orange medicine bottle into an aquapipe and took a huge hit as instructed. I just melted under her beaming voice. I think she meant to just hold up a lighter, bro. Perhaps that got lost in translation. Fortunately, nothing else from the Swede does.