Last Saturday night brought Swedish singer Lykke Li to the American Heartland as she played at The Uptown Theater in Kansas City. I have always loved Lykke Li ever since her debut record Youth Novels six year ago. Having never seen her live, I gladly made the four and a half drive from St Louis to Kansas City to see Li, and I am so glad I did. This was one of the best shows I’ve seen this year.
Lykke Li is no longer that quiet quirky singer back when she debuted in 2008. Yes, a lot of of Li’s songs still deal with tragedy, heartbreak, and the sadness that goes along with it. But instead of staying with her folksy eccentric origins, Lykke Li has evolved into one of those big-time singers that partake in sweeping epic ballads. And it suits her just perfectly.
This was in full display at her Kansas City show where Li is touring behind her newest record, I Never Learn. Behind a magnificent stage set-up filled with haunting lights and eery fogs, Lykke Li brought the old theater to life with her beautiful clear-cut voice as she sang one epic torch song after another. I never felt more connected with Li as she bared her heart out on Never Gonna Love Again and never more connected with the audience as we sang and pranced along to Dance Dance Dance. It was an impeccable and dramatic performance, one that I highly enjoyed and is an easy highlight for the year for me.
Fellow Swedish singer Mapei opened the show with the same flair for the dramatic as Lykke Li. Combining a soul groove with a deep RnB voice and mixing them all with a modern hip-hop flair, Mapei took the early crowd to church and then some.
Browse pictures taken from the show and watch Lykke Li perform I Never Learn‘s closing track Sleeping Alone embedded below.