Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit

Ke$ha – Brixton Academy, London 15/07/13

18 July 2013, 09:51 | Written by Lucie Grace

Make no mistake, Ke$ha is not your average pop star. She’s a 21st century phenomenon. Her self-carved spot as the defender of the underdog gives her room to straddle the charts with a saucy wink, going where your Mileys and Taylors most certainly fear to tread. So it’s hardly surprising that her performance at London’s Brixton Academy was insatiably smutty. Just how charming Ke$ha turned out to be though, no one saw coming.

On a sweltering July night you wouldn’t think such palpable excitement was possible and yet thousands of teenagers prove me wrong as they lose their shit, pogo-ing in unison to the pop hits played – and that’s before the gig even began. When Ke$ha finally takes to the multi-storey stage flanked by her troupe of beefy male dances who look fresh from the set of Thunderdome, backed by her rock band who clearly worship Eddie Van Halen, the crowd roar with appreciation. A sea of lights blaze above them as iPhones, Blackberrys and Androids are a-go-go, held high up in the air. She’s finally arrived; the scantily clad hero of the day that they’d braved the heat to see.

Opening with ‘Warrior’, a particularly catchy chant-a-long with some of what we soon realise to be typical Ke$ha lyrics – “We are the misfits, we are the bad kids, the degenerates…” – the sequin covered banshee showed immediately that not only can she sing, she can sing whilst headbanging, whilst rolling on the floor and whilst hoisted in the air. The sheer athleticism of the woman (for at twenty-six and after the filth that followed – we most certainly can’t call Ke$ha a girl) is absolutely astonishing from the off. ‘Crazy Kids’ whiffed of a Major Lazer track from where I was standing and ‘We R Who We R’ drops the word “sexified”. Yet her celebration of individuality makes her utterly endearing, proclaiming in one of her many sermons “Normal’s fucking boring. Be yourself unapologetically. Always. Okay?”

In our post-Glee world, it’s okay to be weird and now you have the added moral support from above, our Ke$ha, a shining flaxen haired goddess from Nashville, summoning the freaks and geeks to join her pack of animals. You should note at this point, Ke$ha calls her fans her ‘animals’. Brilliant.

After costume change number one of four, from leotard to cape, things take a turn for the sleazy: Her Joan Jett inspired number ‘Gold Trans Am’ was delivered on a climbing frame as sparks literally flew from crotches and oral sex was simulated, by her dance troupe reappearing in drag. ‘Take it Off’ – an ode to the strip club – obviously comes with strippers, - drag queen strippers. Clearly Ke$ha values the large demographic of gay men in her audience. Later she drove the point home in her rainbow flagged toy car, crossing the stage explaining “it’s my gay rights mobile”. It was ‘Party at a Rich Dude’s House’ though that was the middle finger to the bourgeois that I needed to be fully convinced that Ke$ha is awesome. “Cigar in the caviar, pissing in the Dom Perignon” – it doesn’t get much better than that in the charts, I’m wholeheartedly certain.

She subverted pop further still by recommending we get out our phones and record the next one, the supposedly rare performance of a non-album track ‘Machine Gun Love’. I couldn’t help but smile as this reminded me of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs clamp down of said phone activity at their own gigs and I wondered if Ke$ha and Karen would get on, being that they were both playing London this evening.

Pop bangers, inflatable legs, inflatable pigs, tiger costumes, glitter cannons and floods of balloons move the show from the sleazy to the downright hilarious, before closing the proceedings with ‘Tik Tok’ and an encore of ‘Die Young’. Four costume changes, fifteen tunes, twenty nine degrees centigrade, three inflatables, four drag queens and countless F words – everyone leaves Brixton a Ke$ha fan and as I wander out into the hot night I find myself wondering where I could possibly get myself a gold cape.

Words by Lucie Grace. Photograph by Jason Williamson. See Full Gallery.

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