LYKKE LI with WILDBIRDS AND PEACEDRUMS at the Phoenix, Friday (February 6). Rating: NNN
Just a few seconds into Wildbirds and Peacedrums set the reason why Lykke Li had brought them on tour as her opening act was apparent -- the Gothenburg dynamic duo of hard-pounding percussionist Andreas Werliin and singer Mariam Wallentin were everything Lykke Li wanted to be only less.
The darkly mystical interweave of Wallentin's whooping vocal bursts and Werlin's aggressive battering was much more complex and compelling than anything the headliner and her hired band of plunkers could deliver even with pre-recorded bits added on. However, Lykke Li, who could pass for a salad-dodging version of Mischa Barton in the right light, did a much better job of connecting with the audience and selling her clubby tribal jams which were essentially a dumbed-down and amped up version of what Wildbirds and Peacedrums were doing.
What the whispy voiced diva-in-ruffles lacked in wind power, she made up for with some intriguing dance moves [video] involving some jerky torso-twisting combined with intermittent body stroking that looked to be gleaned from breast self-examination videos.
In any case, the screaming women in the audience seemed to be just as delighted by the frantic flitting about as the hollering dudes. In fact, CBC personality Jian Ghomeshi looked to be in some kind of trance, at least until I inadvertantly stepped on his foot on my way out. Ooops.