The stage at The Moore on Wednesday night could have been set for a Halloween show. Footlights, fog, eerie music and black, diaphanous fabrics hung from the rafters as Swedish songstress Lykke Li’s black-clad form danced amongst them. The show’s goth paradise scenario, which kicked off the US leg of her tour, belied Li’s unique and feminine voice.
Li’s singular voice lingers just on the right side of annoying, but works because the songs are so good. Varying between rhythm-driven crowd-pleasers and ballads that showed a more fragile side, the nearly-90 minute set drew heavily from two of her three albums, 2011’s Wounded Rhymes and this year’s I Never Learn.
There were a few dead-air moments between songs, and a few awkward attempts to get the crowd to sing along, but overall the vibe was enthusiastic. While she looks the part with her hair-swinging moves, Li straddled the fence between confident stage presence and weirdly cliched chatter. “I wrote the album so we could have a moment like this,” she announced before “Never Gonna Love Again,” the big power ballad accompanied at her request by cell phones in the air.
Overall, however, she commanded the stage in front of her 5-piece band, often banging on the drums or the microphone stand, her movements accentuating the dramatic indie pop. “Rich Kid Blues,” with an eastern-tinged vocal, was a highlight, along with “I Follow Rivers” and an unexpected cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Silver Springs.” “Get Some” had a bone-rattling hip hop bass intro, and closed the set with huge energy.
Fellow Swede (Swedish-American, technically) Mapei opened the show with an excellent short set of R&B-flavored electro-pop.