Lykke Li performs at the Theatre at Ace Hotel on May 19
Photo: The Recording Academy
Lykke Li At The Theatre At Ace Hotel
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By Crystal Larsen
Though she's remained relatively quiet since the release of her 2011 album, Wounded Rhymes, Swedish singer/songwriter Lykke Li has no shortage of fans. As a matter of fact, 1,600 of them filled the Theatre at Ace Hotel in Los Angeles for her sold-out performance on May 19.
The former flagship movie house of United Artists originally built in 1927, the Theatre at Ace Hotel is no doubt one of the most remarkable locations to see a concert in L.A. As I took my seat in the center orchestra section I turned my eyes above and took in the thousands of tiny glimmering mirrors that decorated the vaulted ceiling. Before taking the stage, Lykke Li Instagrammed a photo of the ornate ceiling with a caption that read, "THIS PLACE IS BEYOND."
Finally, just after 9:30 p.m., the house lights dimmed and all that was visible on the Gothic-decorated stage were tiny white lights shining from the edge of the back of the stage and long, silk curtains that hung in sheets from the top. As smoke filled the stage each of Lykke Li's five band members took their individual spots onstage. Seconds later the artist everyone had been waiting for slowly entered dressed in all-black attire that included a sparkly blazer. As she opened with the title track from her 2014 album I Never Learn, the crowd went wild, with some shouting "I love you!"
"This is the most beautiful thing I've seen," said Lykke Li, leaving open for interpretation whether she was referring to the venue or the sold-out crowd.
Several songs into the set — which included nearly every track off the new album, all of which were wildly received — Lykke Li hit her first crowd-favorite of the evening, "Jerome," from Wounded Dreams. The heavy bass drum that kicked the song into gear was met with hard pounds to the chest from Lykke Li. That type of stage performance had me hooked for the rest of the night. After her performance of the airy "Hanging High" (from her 2008 debut album Youth Novels), she moved to the edge of the stage and hung her head low, letting her body sway from side to side as the lights shut off. As they turned back on she dove into one of my favorite performances of the night, "Never Gonna Love Again" — a perfect pop torch song that was dedicated to the broken-hearted fans in attendance.
"Little Bit" was next and had the entire room up on their feet and dancing. The ambiance in the room changed dramatically as red lights flashed the audience during the guitar-driven rock song "Rich Kids Blues," which brought out the edgier side of Lykke Li, who pounced the stage with drumsticks in hand, pounding them into the air. In one of the final highlights of the night, Lykke Li introduced a song that "reminds her of L.A." — Fleetwood Mac's "Silver Springs," during which one guest in front of me held up a lighter — not on her iPhone, but an actual lighter. She closed with a new Swedish-language song "Du Är Den Ende" and "Sadness Is A Blessing" before her and the band danced offstage to the Beatles' "Don't Let Me Down."
If Lykke Li was wondering if she let her audience down, the answer was no. Not one bit.
"I Never Learn"
"Love Out Of Lust"
"Just Like A Dream"
"No Rest For The Wicked"
"Never Gonna Love Again"
"Love Me Like I'm Not Made Of Stone"
"I Follow Rivers"
"Rich Kids Blues"
"Silver Springs" (Fleetwood Mac cover)
"Youth Knows No Pain"
"Du Är Den Ende"
"Sadness Is A Blessing"