Not to mention that “Dance Dance Dance” was preceded by downers such as “I Follow Rivers” and “Sadness Is a Blessing” from Li’s most recent album, “Wounded Rhymes.” “Every night I rant, I plead, I beg him not to go/Will sorrow be the only lover I can call my own?” she asked on “Sadness Is a Blessing” before ending that song with the couplet “Sadness is my boyfriend/Oh, sadness I’m your girl.” Yes, people used to dance to even Joy Division back in the day, but lyrics like those don’t exactly inspire the urge to move, except to wipe a solitary tear from your eye.
Li’s voice isn’t one of desperation, but she’s a convincing chanteuse of solitude. The evening’s most unadorned song, “I Know Places,” almost made you wish she’d strip things down completely and go very bleak. Like, Nico bleak. The black cloak Li was draped in all night seemed to suggest this is something she could pull off quite well.The 80-minute set ended with another weeper that was a bit too over-the-top for its own good. After the music dropped out, Li stood at center stage and repeated, “All my love is unrequited,” as if it were her personal mantra.