(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.