Lykke Li at Vicar Street – Photos and Review
Lykke Li at Vicar Street – November 16th
Deafening, ceremonious sounds penetrate through every ear as miniature bulbs and lights shine in the darkness. Her silhouette floats onstage and she reaches out, drawing her hand through the air, delicately dancing and swaying – the mystical being that is Lykke Li. She gazes out over the adoring audience and asks, “are you ready to have a good time?”
By beginning with her more up-tempo tunes – such as the magnificently catchy ‘Sadness Is A Blessing’, what with its superb rhythm from drum and tambourine – this gives way to an immediate sense of enjoyment. The singer maintains a wonderful presence, shaking her body to every note, mesmerizing and engrossing the packed out Vicar Street with both her movement and her vocals.
Of course, many musicians boast great vocal ability but only few can match up to the sheer surrealism that is the sound of Lykke Li. There’s a kind of frost in her range, a unique perfection that sends shivers down the spines of all that hear it. Here, in this venue, it is hard to believe that she is singing live – as her other-wordly and pitch perfect talent leaves us constantly astonished. The flawlessness of these vocals becomes totally exposed at the end of ‘Silent My Song’ as she sings unaccompanied (except for the beat of the drum). The moment turns superlative as her backing singers join her in harmony, belting out notes that soar and echo, coming together like some musical phenomenon in a church.
As someone who masterfully switches things up, Li and her ensemble provide a distinctive spin on Drake’s ‘Just Hold On We’re Going Home’. Intergalactic sounds ring out from the keyboard, giving this hit a completely new and welcomed edge. The set-up here and throughout the night adequately matches the standard of the music. Smoke machines add significantly to the scene, just as the lighting works wonders on the night’s vibe. Kudos to those in control of this production.
What I really adore about Lykke Li is how she allows us to peak into her soul – sharing her intricate feelings, thoughts and heartache. As she already does so through the depth of her lyrics and the sheer emotion in her voice, it is an added bonus when she takes time to talk to us in a most authentic manner. This dialogue sets the scene for songs, for example when she is talking about one way to be an “insomniac”, “when you stay awake because you miss the one you love”. This highlights the meaning of ‘Sleeping Alone’ and lets us understand her mind a little more.
Then, a heart warming moment descends on Vicar Street as she gets everyone in attendance to rise their lighters and phones for ‘Never Gonna Love Again’. It is a stunning sight that builds a powerful sensation deep in every chest, a visual memory forever captured. There’s a solace and comfort in the air, as she declares that “we can feel alone together for a while”.
The most exhilarating moment of the night comes at the end with ‘Get Some’. Li brings back on the support act – Eliot Sumner, the daughter of renowned musician Sting. This addition brings a refreshing blend of two complementing voices to an already wondrous song. Madness ensues onstage and off, every person intoxicated on life, bursting with revelry and dancing to this accelerated song. There’s an obvious collective adoration for this tune, further adding fun to the experience. The band roar on as Li and Sumner saunter off arm in arm, before themselves finally following and waving. The ecstatic crowd continue to buzz as Vicar Street remains lost in a whirlwind of excitement.
As ‘Don’t Let Me Down’ pours out from the speakers at the finish, the normal lighting resumes and we all begin to scatter. I make my way to the exit and down the road to catch the bus, still smiling all the way home.