Lykke Li‘s show at Chicago’s Metro proved she’s a woman that moves in mysterious ways. The all-age crowd sold out the venue on a stormy Monday night. By nine p.m. the place was packed, the fog and strobe were in full effect, and Chicago was ready for the Scandinavian songstress. Li emerged in a black cape with her hair tied back in tight bun. Like a confidant feline, she slinked across the stage as she belted out “Jerome”, a haunting track of lost love off her latest album, Wounded Rhymes.
The power in the music (aided by a pair of drummers) could be felt in the pounding of my chest. Li, who clutched a drum stick for most the show, would occasionally pound a cymbal, adding drama to her otherwise restrained stage presence.
Li’s performance masterfully balanced power and vulnerability of a survivor of heartbreak. Her greatest charm is her ability to effortlessly combine these opposing forces. In songs like “Love Out of Lust” and “Sadness is a Blessing” she pours her emotions with a straight face and an unwavering beat. Crowd favorites “I’m Good, I’m Gone” and “Dance, Dance, Dance,” showcased the cheerier tracks off her first album, Youth Novels.
The songstress closed out the night with the aggressive “Get Some” where she boasts “I’m your prostitute, you gon’ get some.” The crowd egged her on for a three song encore. It included the driving anthem “Youth Knows No Pain”, “Possibility” (off the Twilight: New Moon soundtrack), and the stark ballad “Unrequited Love”. The last three songs could not have been more different and it is that contradiction in style and emotion that is the grounding appeal of Lykke Li.
Photography by Meghan Brosnan.
Gallery by Meghan Brosnan