Dressed in a black skintight outfit with a flowy shawl/cape thing draped over her shoulders, Lykke Li looked kind of like a superhero. (Maybe Batgirl, but definitely more Christopher Nolan than Joel Schumacher. Evil Stevie Nicks, the Voice suggested.) Not sure what her superpower is but she held the audience in her grip for her sold-out, in-the-round performance at Le Poisson Rouge last night (12/01). "I've got a new record that we're gonna play for you tonight, " Li told the crowd. "Are you ready for some new material?" Much hooting and hollering followed.
We got about seven or eight songs new songs from Wounded Rhymes, due in March 2011. The Bo-Diddley-gone-tribal first single "Get Some" shouldn't be seen as a signifier for what to expect, though. While definitely bigger sonically than 2008's spare Youth Novels, '60s girl groups (The Shirelles and the Shangri-Las in particular) seemed to be the most obvious touchstone. It's hard to judge new material in such settings, and debuting so much new material can sometimes test audience patience. But the crowd pretty much hung on every word they hadn't heard, and sang along with the ones they did.
Of the new songs, a few definitely stuck out, mostly the more ballad-y ones. "Jerome," a rhythm heavy slow burn ode to a former lover that had a definite (regular non-evil) Stevie Nicks vibe to it which really showed off the vocal talents of her tight, now five-member-strong band. Those harmonies would be forefront on "Sadness is a Blessing" and show-closer "Unrequited Love" both bare-all, raw nerve, heart-on-sleeve numbers. And of course "Get Some" which is pure bad-ass bravado, that sounds to me like the soundtrack to a raucous bar fight.
It was the Youth Novels material that had the crowd, most of whom got there two and a half hours before Li went on, going crazy: "Little Bit" (seemed like the whole place sang the "for you I keep my legs apart" line), "Dance Dance Dance," "I'm Good I'm Gone" and the Madonna-ish "Breaking It Up" which segued into an instrumental cover of The Knife's "Silent Shout." We also got a cover of The Big Pink's "Velvet" and her contribution to the Twilight: New Moon soundtrack, "Possibility."
I saw Lykke Li perform a handful of times in 2008 and while entertaining then, she has definitely upped her game. Maybe it was just the intimate nature of the performance, but Li was oozing charisma/"it factor" last night. Who needs superpowers when you have that?
If you missed the show, catch her in May when she tours back to NYC for two shows at Webster Hall. Tickets for May 17th are still available, and May 18th is currently on AMEX presale (general sale begins 12/3 at noon).
Before the LPR show Bill interviewed Lykke for a Kanon Organic Vodka video segment that will be ready for viewing on Kanon's site soon (stay tuned). In the video you'll see Lykke sample two cocktails named after her songs, both of which were named by contest winners who won tickets to the show, and to the Kanon-sponsored afterparty which took place at the swanky SoHo Grand. Check out pictures of the afterparty at Kanon's site. The rest of our pictures from Le Poisson Rouge, and two videos, are below...
Afterparty pictures up at Kanon's site.
Lykke Li - "I Follow Rivers" @ Le Poisson Rouge, December 1, 2010
Lykke Li - "Dance Dance Dance" @ Le Poisson Rouge, December 1, 2010