Lykke Li Live Review: Trinity Arts Centre, Bristol – with Sarah Blasko support

Trinity Arts Centre in Bristol is a wonderful venue for a gig.  Being originally the Holy Trinity Church for St Philips the space is superb for a gathering of like minded people.  Now used as a hub for community projects, arts and music and run by Trinity Community Arts.

The website stated the doors opened at 7:30pm with the support on at 8pm, so we duly arrived just before 8pm with a throng of people still queuing to get in.  Luckily being a spring evening it wasn’t too cold, unlike on previous occasions when this venue decided to open up over an hour later than advertised in mid winter! So we finally got in at 8:40pm, 10 minutes after the start of the first act.  Oh hum!

Sarah Blasko was the support.  It was a low key start with a sparse sound.  Just Sarah singing, playing the odd stringed instrument or keyboard and one other guitarist.  The sound had it’s own particular eccentricity which was interesting and over the 20 minutes I was able to see her, the songs got better and better.

The crowd very much warmed to her and her voice shone in the atmosphere of the old church.  Her voice sounded a cross between Liela Moss (Duke Spirit) and Florence Welch (Florence and the machine) with the sparse music and style akin to Anna Calvi.

She has a wonderful stage presence and managed to converse with the crowd and introduce herself to the local celebrity that is Big Jeff, as usual at the front.  “Are you Big Jeff”, she said as his head was still bobbing up and down from the previous song.  “Oh I have heard a lot about you”!

It was quite mesmerising and I would recommend checking her out.

Then came the main event, Lykke Li at 9.30pm.  The last time I saw Lykke Li was on her tour of her first album.  This was at the Thekla and was a very down to earth occasion.  It was a fantastic gig, very lively.

This time around it was a much more polished affair.  Her sound has matured somewhat with a new album “Wounded Rhymes” probably better than her first excellent album, but without the enormous popular hooks.

Where as a few years ago she just walked on stage, this time there was an enormous build up and atmospheric light show and dry ice to build the tension before she eventually arrived.  It was an explosive opening.  The crowd were enthusiastic yet some how they felt a little subdued at the same time.

By the third song she treated the crowd to a cover of the Big Pink’s “Velvet”, which is a wonderful song, “The Big Pink are here” she said, “In my heart”, as she produced the cover version.

The night switched from her current album to her previous one and from the quiet moments to the lively dance moments with equal measure.  Commanding the stage as she danced and contributed to her two percussionists.

The first hour went quickly as she went off for the first encore.  In all we were treated to two encores, I’m sure that the crowd would have gladly stayed for a lot more, but it was not to be.

The highlights for me would be largely the newer songs that really came across well like “I follow rivers”, “Jerome” and the superb “Get Some”.  However, it was a strange feeling toward the end of the set as she finished with the brilliant but downbeat “Unrequited Love”, which somehow was an ill fitting end to the set. A low note in mood, high in quality, and leaving the audience some how wanting more.

Overall a wonderful night of music, Lykke Li is the real deal when it comes to quality song writing, but somehow I was left slightly flat at the end of the evening.  If you haven’t checked out her music yet, then you must do so, with an urgency!

Big Audio Dynamite
Vaccines and Smith Westerns
Pete and the Pirates and Bravo Brave Bats
Japanese Voyeurs


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