Published Aug 11, 2009Not even a torrential thunderstorm could stop excited fans from showing up at the Sound Academy to see Swedish chanteuse Lykke Li.
Starting the night was Toronto's Katie Stelmanis, whose wild wails were accompanied by her all-girl band. As a contrast, Swedes and all-boy band Miike Snow followed, with their earth-shattering performance of avant-garde electronic pop songs quickly becoming one tough act to follow.
Fortunately for Li, she's unmistakably crazy and her stage presence is accordingly large, her voice ringing out before she even took the stage. Opening with crowd favourite "Dance, Dance, Dance" from 2008's Youth Novels, Li danced erratically, dressed in a billowy black dress and much sought-after Alexander Wang biker shorts. Her band, a talented array of attractive Swedish boys, demonstrated that although they had played at Chicago's Lollapalooza the night previous, their energy would be nothing but through the roof for the Toronto crowd.
Li's set included all of the Youth Novels basics, from the cowbell-heavy hit "Little Bit" to the dynamic "I'm Good, I'm Gone." Still, when the audience least expected it, Li would present them with new tracks, which exhibited her evolution to a more experimental sound for the songstress, with slow, drawn-out outros and vague notes of country.
The climax occurred when Miike Snow, wearing ridiculous white masks, returned onstage and beat along frantically to the music behind one of Li's two drum sets. "Do you want to get knocked up?" Li yelled at her audience. "I know somebody who can get you knocked up!" For those who haven't heard it, this was an allusion to Li's recent remix of the Kings of Leon hit, "Knocked Up." With Miike Snow's singer Andrew Wyatt filling in for the Kings' Caleb Followill, Li unleashed her ambient version of the tune.
There must be something in the water in Sweden, because by night's end, Li proved that she can do no wrong.