• Live Review: Lykke Li at London's Roundhouse Tuesday 1st Nov 2011

    1 Ene 2012, 14:26

    Tue 1 Nov – Lykke Li, First Aid Kit

    (I wrote this immediately after the event but have neglected to post it until now - sincere apologies, and I hope it still gets read!)

    When Lykke arrives on stage, dressed in a stylish black trouser suit, to a superbly crafted light and sound show, I was somewhat taken aback. The shy young girl that I thought I had got to know through her music appeared in reality to be a tall, elegant and mature woman.

Lykke's surprising maturity is also evident through the fine attention to detail her beautifully crafted set contained. Launching the set as she did with a series of her most upbeat tracks did not, in-fact, leave the energy waning later on as might be expected. Many songs were wonderfully and subtly reworked for their live renditions. Chief amongst these reworkings was the fan favourite 'Dance, Dance, Dance '. The attention made to expanding and foregrounding the percussion utilised two percussionists through the show (when Lykke herself was not also drumming or clapping on whatever she could lay her hands on, which she was constantly) and was noticeable in its huge success. The percussion really brought the music to life with more energy for a live show that was finely tuned.

A personal highpoint was when, after an amazingly energetic sequence of tracks, the band broke into a section of heavy electronica sampled from famous group The Knife's Silent Shout! This personal favorite song of mine sent me over the edge and for the next minute I lost control and danced (read: raved) my heart out! It suited perfectly in a somewhat esoteric way as the people in the audience who share that particular part of Lykke's music influence were all clear to see as they were grinning like Cheshire cats and dancing as fiercely as I. Unfortunately, the majority of the crowd did not share our desire to dance at this point or significantly through the rest of the show. Maybe it was the venue (as I have noticed this behaviour before at the often crowded and hot Roundhouse), or perhaps Lykke's superb new album 'Wounded Rhymes' has failed to sink in as much as its predecessor as the older songs certainly seemed to go down better. But either way; I felt in the minority in appreciating the veritable feast of sound that we were being treated to by a wonderful, endearing and superbly talented musician and responding by 'shaking my hips, lifting my feet and dance, and dance, dance.'

    As mature as her arrival on stage, costume and arrangement may have been, Lykke's music and stage manner still betrays a young woman who has tasted success beyond expectation and overcomes her charming shyness with concentrated talent and effort. Often wrapping herself up and spinning in the curtain-like stage decorations and hiding away from the audience between songs she appears in all the innocence and sincerity that I feel in love with through her music. It is when she herself dances that the unfamiliar (maybe uncomfortable for her) emerging sexual aspects of her and her music are visible. It is a line that now resonates even more after seeing her live when she purrs: 'my hips may lie, 'cause in reality I'm shy shy shy'.

    Lykke's performance at London's Roundhouse tonight was nothing short of perfect. I was spellbound from start to end and leave only with a slight sense of frustration that the whole crowd were not as bewitched as I was.


  • Metric, Koko 23/5/10

    24 May 2010, 9:08

    Sun 23 May – Metric, Baby Monster

    If the last Metric show I reviewed was a celibration of 'all things Metric', this is an all out rally aimed at hammering home a dominance.

    Emily (Hayes) is surely one of the better front-women in music today as she gives and takes as much from a crowd that a symbiotic relationship is in clear evidence. Her regular cooing to the 'roots of rock 'n' roll' seems somewhat misplaced seeing as the new material they define themselves by so strongly is, to this reviewer at least, far more pop-rock then rock n roll. Having said that, their live sound is so much heavier than you would expect from record, particularly here tonight and the rock vibe is there for all to feel.

    Every song in the first half of the set seemed to be a ten minute extended fanclub mix. The set was firmly routed in new material, but the all too few gems from yesterday shone, and felt perfectly polished for the longterm fans. The extended ender in acoustic Combat Baby was clearly there for diehards, and was a fitting flirtation to draw new fans through the backcattalogue to when metric had a differnt sound. The prodominant feeling from this show (as last time) was 'confidence', and Metric leaked it in buckets, endeering themselves and their new (more commercially appealing) sound to new and old fans alike.

    Everytime I see this band they seem to draw out a powerful joy and desire to party from all present, everyone is welcomed into Emily's symbiosis and feels comfortable there. They give off a vibe that they are really heading for the big time with their new material and set-closer 'Stadium Love' feels more and more like a statement of intention.

    Worth note is the superb 'Gimme Sympathy' that manages to sound very new and progressive for the band yet at the same time carrying huge nostalgia, reflection and a sense of moving forward. This one song stands above the others to typify my adoration of Metric as they basque in their superb achievements over the last decade and move into a new chapter with such momentum.


    Support band Baby Monster deserve an interested mention. Apparently compared to MGMT (who I do not know, yet) they presented an exciting electro sound that arced well through their all too short set. The housey final track was a ravey delight and, not being familiar with MGMT, they sounded to me like The Presets, whom I adore.
    Will definitely be looking for more from them.
  • Lamb, Koko, 23/9/09

    25 Sep 2009, 12:06

    Wed 23 Sep – Lamb

    Absolutely, superbly, beautiful and blissfully inspiring show.

    Clearly an equally special event for both the crowd and the performers, Andy [Barlow] in particular seemed to be having the time of his life! He actually lost the plot at one point and started banging the drums so out of time and gibbering on about 'floating around in heaven, looking up at the smiling faces' after his crowd surfing adventure! A pleasure to witness and share in his joy.

    A solidly tight, perfectly designed and natural performance of artists clearly enjoying performing together again. The relaxed vibe on stage and mutual appreciation of the audience was an honour to be a part of. It's not often that you see a band so clearly loving both listening to and performing their music as much as Lamb did last night, and that contributed to one of the most special and easily most enjoyable gigs I have been to for many years. The crowed were perfect, the sound quality was very good (props to Andy and the engineers for getting that so right at Koko, a difficult venue in my opinion), the set was very well selected (the accidental repeat of 'Gabriel' was a banterful joy!) and the vibe was unmatched on stage in London.

    Their return to live 'music from the heart' has been a huge success if this show is anything to go by, and I for one will be bitterly disappointed if we do not see at least an albums worth of new material over the next year. The combined experiences of the last 15 years for Andy and Lou [Rhodes] should make for their best material yet. *Keeping everything crossed....*

    Lamb's music has a special place in many peoples hearts and through it we are brought closer to each other and to the producers, and with live shows like this we are reminded that the musical environment is not as sterile and impersonal as is often appears. 'Music from the heart' is back, and will hopefully grow for another ten years.

    We love you Lamb =)

  • Metric @ Electric Ballroom

    20 May 2009, 0:19

    Tue 19 May – Metric

    Great show.

    Was awesome to hear the new material played with such energy and obvious confidence in the sound. And the sound is the that of a band that has reached maturity.

    The remixes of classic songs were just amazing and served to punctuate a show themed as a real celebration of all things Metric. The new music is slick, personal, passionate and very ambitious. Everything from Fantasies is clearly demonstrating the high aims and confidence of a band in their swing and feeling good about their future.

    What a great front woman Emily is, it's not often you get to be entertained by someone that clearly loves her audience so much.

  • Cursive @ Dingwalls

    13 May 2009, 9:05

    Tue 12 May – Cursive, Airship


    Had a great night enjoying an absolute powerhouse of a setlist from Cursive, these guys were very tight and put on a performance matching the energy and passion of their albums.
    The set contained a majority of older songs which perfectly warmed the crowd to the less popular newer material, every sceptical fan there last night walked away feeling much more connected to the new music than before.

    Finally getting to see this band live has cemented them as one of my most admired musical outfits. What they do is just amazing and I very much hope they return to our shores soon.

    I was also very impressed with Manchester band Airship in support and bought their EP at the show. Definitely one to watch out for.