It's 9:15 p.m. and the lights begin to flicker as smoke settles onto the stage. Two men in suit jackets sit side by side on keyboards as a lady with a black turtleneck and circular bun stands motionless. Their synchronized and polished look commands the room for a moment until the Swedish indie pop sensation, Lykke Li, appears.
Her hands thump against her heart and reach passionately for the audience as she begins to sing, "where the blue moon shines/where the tears melt ice/ in a sea of guilt/ by the fallen stars/lonely chimes, sing of pain/there's a storm, only love remains." The crowd goes wild as she concludes her first song, "I Never Learn" and next moves right along to "Sadness Is A Blessing."
In the wake of her newly released third album, I Never Learn, the 28 year-old Swedish songstress made a trip out to the Observatory to share her latest electro pop musings with a sold-out crowd. "California is the best place. Let's make this night count," Li says after stepping out on stage. "Are you guys hydrated enough? Are you stoned enough? To dream a little dream with me?" She sings "Just Like A Dream" and a sea of lavender wristbands sway throughout the sold out venue. The song is just about to end when the intro to Drake's "Started From The Bottom" begins to play and Li sways her long wavy hair, working the stage with bellbottomed pants and a black trench that she occasionally knocks off her shoulders.
Moving along to "No Rest For The Wicked," the new single off of her shortest, most aurally ambitious album to date, she stops halfway through the song and says, "come on ladies, you know what that's like, a lonely night-there's no rest for the wicked." A man from the crowd screams, "I love you!" She tells the audience to light up and she goes on to sing "Jerome" swaying hips ever so slightly and moving her fingertips in a wave formation in the air.
"You want to dance? Can you help me? I'm not a very good dancer. Show me how to do it in Sahnta Annaa" she says with an accent. She climbs onto the speakers and sings "Dance, Dance, Dance" looking down at a group of girls pausing to ask, "I thought we were doing this together?!" Everyone laughs and soon enough the room is all swaying and singing in unison. Next up is "Never Gonna Love Again" a song that she says is perfect for when you have nobody to dance with. Lighters and iPhone's fill the hands of gazers that are not only witnessing this dream like quality, that Li possesses, but also that have now become apart of it.
The beat to "Little Bit" begins and everyone loses there cool. Her band has remixed the song and Li is standing with her trench coat over her head as an assortment of lights flash at her back. The hype continues as she sings "Gunshot" off her album released this year I Never Learn. Caressing the microphone she sings, "I am longing for your poison." The gal singing her backup vocals hits the tambourine in the background. Next, a remix that even if you're not so familiar with Lykke Li you've most likely heard begins "I Follow Rivers." The band plays tribute to its much-loved Magician Remix. The room turns black before she sings "Youth Knows No Pain". She seduces the audience dancing across the stage to her last song before encore "Get Some."
No one budges before Li returns to perform her last two songs of the encore. She tells the audience she's going to sing a song in Swedish, her native language. It's unlikely that anyone was able to translate the lyrics but in truth, it does not matter. They were effortless, dreamlike, and unique, what we've come to expect from Lykke Li. Before taking off she tells the audience that she wants to sing a song that reminds her of California, a Fleetwood Mac cover. Of course, we all know hipsters can't get enough Fleetwood Mac. Diving into the 1977 tune "Silver Springs" and the crowd joins her. Though the moment was rather enjoyable, the encore was short lived. Soon enough, she's said her goodbyes and disappeared, leaving the crowd wanting more.
I Never Learn
Sadness Is A Blessing
Just Like A Dream
No Rest For The Wicked
Dance, Dance, Dance
Never Gonna Love Again
Rich Kids Blues
I Follow Rivers
Youth Knows No Pain
Beautiful song in Swedish (Language Unknown – Title Unknown)
Silver Spring by Fleetwood Mac (Cover)
The Crowd: Girls and guys alike singing along with Lykke Li, furrowed brow, jaw-dropped, and belting the tunes as if they were there own. Post show, packs of inhabitants stopped in The Observatory parking lot to indulge in a hot dog and grilled onions.
Overheard: Ancient Chinese torture? Really, you're into that?