Get Lykke Li to the Greek

After the energy and banter that typified the recent Ben Folds show I attended, I was expecting a more relaxed and staid show from Lykke Li last week.  Expectations were not met.  But that’s not a bad thing.  More on that in a minute.

This was the first time to the Greek for me.  A historic amphitheater located inside Griffith Park, it has a much more intimate vibe than the much larger Hollywood Bowl.  It had a makeover in the past ten years, and it showed with nice concession areas, clean and large bathrooms, and a nice facade that apparently is true to the original facade of the theater.  The soundsystem was also more than adequate.

There were two opening bands.  First up was Fool’s Gold, a local band who mix African rhythms with pop music.  Think Vampire Weekend.  In fact, during a few of their songs, the resemblance was striking.  Musically, they were very adept, and gave the early arrivers something nice to listen to.  Unfortunately, the lead singer didn’t have anywhere near the voice of Ezra Koenig.  That took away a little from the rest of the band’s overall appeal.  As openers go, they were decent.

Next up was Best Coast.  We had seen them earlier in the summer in Pasadena, and they played a pleasant set of lo-fi “surfer” rock then.  Ditto for this set.  Armed with only one full album (and some EPs), the setlist was pretty much the same, if not identical, to the Pasadena show.  Singer Bethany Cosentino has a sweet voice that is complemented nicely by the rough guitar of Bobb Bruno.  I use words like nice and pleasant to describe their sets because they are.  But they lack a pop, ooomph, or some other adjective that separates a good live set from a great one.

Now back to Lykke Li.  I last saw the Swedish songwriter in a very intimate setting at the Sixth and I Synagogue in DC.  With only one instrumentalist and no sort of light show, the spotlight was squarely on Li, and she delivered with a powerful performance.  From the beginning, this show was different.

The first photo in this post was the stage as Li and her band entered the stage.  They had the smoke machines working overtime and the light display would have gotten a nod from Pink Floyd roadies.  Lykke had many more people on stage with her, including two drummers and a backup singer.  As before when I saw her, she keeps a drum and cymbal nearby, and occasionally beats on it along with her percussion section.

It was a really good performance.  She interspersed a lot of her more upbeat songs with some slower numbers, new songs and old.  She was a lot more energetic than the last time I saw her, dancing around the stage and going to town on the aforementioned drums.  Her voice is still great, though unlike the last time I saw her, a few times the music overpowered her vocals.  The crowd didn’t seem to mind, and there was a lot of dancing, even in the seated area where we were at.  The light show was nice and not too over the top (other than the smoke barrage at the beginning).  Only regret was that she didn’t play my favorite song, Tonight, during the encore.  But, all in all a very good show.

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One Response to “Get Lykke Li to the Greek”

  1. Portishead – Shrine Auditorium, Oct. 18 « Nothing to Write Home About Says:

    […] & Mary Chain show back in my early 20s.  It was not so much a light show, like the good one Lykke Li did earlier this summer, though there was a little of that, but mostly a use of a large video […]

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