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December 16, 2010 7:00 pm
Lady Gaga has sparked fierce competition among her fellow pop stars. It’s like an arms race to see who can stockpile the most outrageous routines.
Hence Rihanna and Christina Aguilera’s lewd guest turns on The X Factor last weekend, which provoked more than 2,000 complaints. And hence too the existence of Ke$ha, singer of songs about brushing her teeth with Jack Daniels and getting blitzed in nightspots. She’s the Californian party animal to Lady Gaga’s New York club kid.
There were sound reasons to be nervous in advance of her first UK headlining show. Ke$ha – real name Kesha Sebert – has been very successful, selling more than 5m copies of her single “Tik Tok” and went platinum with her album Animal. But for those who don’t share her idea of fun, she’s as appetising as Four Loko, the caffeinated alcoholic drink banned in the US. For “blackout in a can” substitute “oblivion in an album”.
She stepped on stage with bright lights shining behind her: a vision of trashiness sporting blonde curls, fluorescent lipstick, gold pants, torn tights and an electric guitar shaped like a rifle. The vision opened her mouth to ask: “Are you ready to party?”
|Party credentials: Ke$ha|
The ensuing revelry was unexpectedly entertaining. The beats were more muscular than on Animal, while Auto-Tuned vocals were kept to a minimum. An air of pantomime led you to understand her party-girl act shouldn’t be taken too seriously.
“Blah Blah Blah” was a lesson in courtship set to a jackhammer R&B beat. The bodaciously named “Party at a Rich Dude’s House” was zesty punk-pop, with male dancers swigging beer bottles as Ke$ha did cartwheels. “VIP” was addictive electropop about getting “rowdy”.
The set climaxed with a cover of The Beastie Boys’ “Fight for Your Right to Party”, rapped by a man dressed as Santa Claus. Ke$ha hit dinosaur piñatas
, before exiting slung over Santa’s shoulders crying “I love you, London!” It had been, to my surprise, a blast from start to finish. Ke$ha is the gonzo Gaga.
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