Lily Allen is boss. End of. A supposed symbol of our modern day youth culture Lily is as far removed from our average 23 year old as Channel 4’s Skins is from teenage kicks in suburban Ireland. However her appeal is wide and tonight’s attendance at The Academy is as varied a cross section of society at you’d expect to find at any event. There’s a mixture of real and faux Chanel, (of course not on the same person, heaven forbid), hipsters, howya’s, queens, geeks, celebs, plebs and lots and lots of teenage girls, hell there’s even a kiddies corner.
What with her socialite day job and tabloid tantrums it’s easy to forget that Lily Allen is actually a performer and you know what? She delivers. Opening with Everyone’s At It, Lily arrives on stage to frenzied screams; its like a drunken CD:UK. Looking remarkably beautiful in a black tutu and crazy high shoes, Lily sings raspily about how everyone’s on crack, coke and/or valium. Given the diversity of tonight’s crowd she has to be somewhat right.
Accompanied by a four-piece band, the music is at times rock, garage, and a little bit country but mostly it’s finely polished pop. The front of the stage is lined with thick necked bouncers and a changing rotation of photographers which could be part of the staging as they really just add to the glamour. We’re looking at a bona fide star here and stage school as paid off. Sipping from her pint of white wine Ms Allen runs through tracks her new album, ‘It’s Not Me, It’s You’, and every word is sang back at her. Interaction with the audience is typically A-list, professionally stand off-ish, all smiles and waves. For one girl up front, being so close to her idol was all too much but Lily ordered her a couple of drinks to console her. At this point she had ditched the Louboutin heels for her classic Reeboks, street!
The tunes are good too, Never Gonna Happen is a modern, crunky Puppet On A String, there’s a brief version of Kaiser Chiefs’ Oh My God but it’s the hilarious, country pop It’s Not Fair that is the highlight. A song about bedroom inadequacies, Lily gets all phallic with the mic as she delivers some brutal truths. LDN from ‘Alright, Still’ lifts the roof and she closes with the explosive -Fuck You’ which is dedicated to her eight year old cousin (how charming?). Saying that there were moments of sameness towards the end of the main set.
Returning to a chorus of ‘Lily’ chants and thankfully before the -OlÃ©’s’ caught on, Lily has had a wardrobe change. Wearing her -rave’ dress she gets her groove on to some garage-jungle before launching into the brilliantly delivered Smile and current hit single The Fear. It’s radio-friendly pop heaven at this point. The starlet once again displays her street credibility mixed with pop-sensibilities as she blends some Benga-style dub-step into her version of Britney’s Womanizer. A far greater performance than her mate Britney Spears could ever achieve.
With that Lily ends her club night in Dublin, a rare opportunity to she her in such a small venue. OK, so she’s not the Madonna or even Gwen Stefani of our time and she’s certainly not your average 20-odd year old, but she’s a modern, sassy, bolshie, talented pop star with some pretty great songs, and there really aren’t that many of them around. Above all, if tonight proves anything, it’s that Lily Allen is relevant.
Photo by Loreana Rushe – for more pictures from the night see her blog.