Lily Allen

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Average User Rating 5.22
Total Reviews 2
Last Reviewed August 20th, 2006
 
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
Lily goes it again!
Venue/Date: Theatre Of Living Arts (Philadelphia, PA)
Concert Date:  
November 8th, 2007
Reviewer: aceshooter

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1.00

Lily Allen

12 February 2007: Theatre of Living Arts — Philadelphia, PA


“You’ll have to excuse me,” Lily Allen explains three songs into a sprightly 70-minute set. “I had one of your Philadelphia cheesesteaks a few hours ago, and it’s playing havoc with my stomach. I keep burping… or barfing, as you call it.”


Despite this linguistic faux pas—one which the evening’s sold-out crowd quickly corrects—it’s obvious that Allen likes language. Her songs are full of it, and so is her blog (how else would I know she likes In-N-Out burgers?). Tonight she doesn’t disappoint, using her words to diss everyone from her ex-boyfriends (“Not Big”) to the previous night’s New York crowd (“They said absolutely nothing,” she explains, before bursting into the song of the same name) and other bands (after acoustic covers of fellow Brits Keane and the Kooks, she sates: “Back to my songs, they’re much better than them.”)


What she lacks in social graces, Allen makes up in charisma. Tonight she’s full of buoyant confidence, energetically bounding from one side of the stage to the other, microphone in hand, pulling at her ponytail and flashing a flirtatious smile. The crowd, mainly gaggles of young girls and 30-something couples, is enamored. But just to make sure, she changes the lyrics of her opening song, the reggae-tinged “LDN,” from “walkin’ round Londontown” to “walkin’ round Philly town.”

It all seems too easy. Since bursting onto the scene last summer—thanks to her MySpace page, its snowball effect, and the subsequent blog hype—the diminutive Londoner has dug deep into the international pop landscape. You want to talk numbers? How’s 300,000 albums sold in Britain alone, not to mention 100,000 MySpace friends? And now she’s ready to take on America. Though her debut album, Alright, Still, was just released here last month, this tour, her first full-length US jaunt, is sold out.


The hype may have something to do with MTV’s hourly rotation of five 30-second “vignettes” showcasing Allen’s music (but, then, who watches MTV for music anymore?). Or it may have something to do with her recent staid, but solid Saturday Night Live appearance (but who watches Saturday Night Live anymore?). Then again, it could have developed when Blender magazine named her ‘’No. 1 Reason to Love 2007’’ (but who reads magazines anymore?).

Of course, it could just have to do with her music—an inoffensive mix of ska, reggae, and R&B polished with a pop sheen and some choice samples (Professor Long Hair, the Soul Brothers). These horn-adorned tunes are topped off with urban(e) observations full of English colloquialisms like “filth,” “fags,” and “flats.” Catchy and crude, the songs are candy coated arsenic pills.


The 21-year-old isn’t without detractors. Her middle class upbringing, famous dad, and ‘mockney’ accent have led to claims of nepotism and record company manipulation. It’s hard to see, on paper, why anyone would want to create Lilly Allen: she’s (in a pop sense) unconventionally pretty, uses outmoded genres as musical markers (ska and reggae), and is prone to cursing (it only takes 13 words for Alright, Still to be slapped with a parental advisory sticker).

All that said, if this show is any evidence, she is a consummate performer, commanding the stage and setting up songs with witty one-liners. She even censors herself, missing out a whole line during the calypso-infused disco pop of “Friday Night” (the offensive word rhymes with ‘runt’). “I can’t do it, there’s a kid there,” she says instead, pointing at the front row, a little flustered. It’s the only time she goes Tipper Gore on us though. The rest of the show is full of foul words strewn about her tales of birds, bars, and ex-boyfriends.


In essence, it’s these three topics that drive Lily Allen’s songs. “Smile” is an ex-boyfriend brush-off disguised as a sanguine slice of laidback island pop; “Knock Em Out,” tells a taut tale of British bar-life; and “Friday Night” combines all three, dealing with the cattiness of girls in bars, possibly fighting over ex-boyfriends. Allen, though, would like us to think she’s deeper than that, introducing “Everything’s Just Wonderful” as a song about “sticking it to the man.” The man, she continues to say, could be, “Bank managers, mortgage lenders, Prime Ministers,” before whispering, “Presidents.” Realizing she’s out of her depth, Allen quickly retreats: “I’m not going there; this is my first American tour; I ain’t no Dixie Chick.”


While she certainly isn’t a Dixie Chick, she does share some of that group’s bravado. Backed by an airtight seven-piece band fitted in matching polo shirts, Allen’s in control, orchestrating the music, conducting the introduction to “Friday Night” like it’s a philharmonic orchestra. Anyone privy to her early MySpace postings and mix-tapes will hear the progress she’s made as a performer. Augmented by a three-piece horn section, tonight’s tunes are punchier, if a little overpowering. “Knock Em Out,” in particular, sounds stunted. On record, it’s a raucous account of recourse anchored by a Professor Longhair piano sample, but tonight the cheer that emanates when Allen dedicates it to the ladies is louder than her vocals. Things come together on “Littlest Things,” when the band takes a back seat, allowing Allen’s voice to shine on her self-described only love song (albeit one in which the boyfriend spends more time and money on trainers than the relationship).


Whether Lily Allen is a person or persona remains to be seen. On tonight’s evidence, though, her fans don’t really care. She walks onstage for the encore with a cigarette in hand, nonchalantly flouting the city’s smoking ban, as the band bursts into the jaunty cartoon Euro-pop of “Alfie.” In it, Allen lambastes her little brother for smoking too much weed, cheekily rhyming “computer games” with “getting laid” and, despite her derision, affectionately calling him “mon frere”.

As I said earlier, Lily Allen likes language.

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Lily is awesome
Venue/Date: Music Box at the Fonda (Los Angeles, CA)
Concert Date:  
February 5th, 2007
Reviewer: aceshooter

      Venue Parking  
      Venue Security  
      Opening Band  
      Opening Song  
      Set List  
      Band Connection  
      Band Energy/Intensity/Showmanship  
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      The Finish/Encore  
9.44
-2-5-07, Lily Allen @ The Music Box at The Henry Fonda Theater, Los Angeles, CA



Gwen who?


Watching British pop export Lily Allen perform is like a vacation in the Bahamas wearing bovver boots.

Making her U.S. rounds to promote her stateside debut and new CD, "Alright, Still," Allen sold-out her only LA appearance at The Music Box at The Henry Fonda Theater, on Monday, February 5th, as part of MTV's Discover or Download Tour.

Allen, who also happens to be the daughter of actor / producer Keith Allen, and goddaughter to late-Clash frontman, Joe Strummer, is another internet promo phenom.

Showcasing her songs on the popular MySpace, and building a fan base in the UK, it was only a matter of time before she would reach the US underground scene and ultimately MTV, where her message of female empowerment has struck a chord with fans, looking to wipe Spice "Girl Power" from memory.

Outside the Fonda, fans lined up, scalpers harrassed, and security was tight for the 21 year-old singer, whose sound is reminiscent of the Two-Tone days of ska music by bands like The Specials, and Madness, but with a hip-hop element similar to fellow Brit / Sri Lankan rapper, M.I.A., and a dash of Cibo Matto added for good measure.

With a lone DJ as an opening act onstage, Allen took the stage on schedule as the clock struck 10pm. LA crowds tend to get restless quickly, and Blackberry's were in full-effect throughout a crowd that can best be described as, "Silverlake arthouse meets Beverly Hills couture." Not that it should be a surprise to anyone. Allen is rumored to be the next face of Chanel, and her music is in constant rotation on LA's independent music champion, Indie 103.1FM, where Allen's song "Smile," was premiered on DJ Sal Bisla's syndicated radio show, Passport Approved. 

Spotted in the crowd was a "semi-drunk," but very fab, blogger Perez Hilton, and musician / actress Jenny Lewis, who much to my delight informed me that she, "Also drives a Ford Focus."

Heavy on the upbeat, and even thicker on groove thanks to her excellent back-up band, that included a 3-piece horn section, a booming bass player, guitar, and keys, Allen entered the stage wearing a short, white dress making quite the classy fashion statement rarely seen on a popster, unless you're Christina Aguilera (lately.) Like a reluctant diva, Allen's easy-going demeanor surfaced immediately.

"Hello, LA!," shouted Allen, before quickly jumping into her latest single, "LDN," followed by other strong cuts off "Alright, Still," including "Knock 'Em Out," "Shame For You," adapting the melody of Dawn Penn's "No, no, no," "Nan You're A Window Shopper," and "Not Big," about and dedicated to, according to Allen, "guys with small penises."

Vocally strong and with warm, confident enthusiasm, Allen isn't the most energetic live performer; however, what she lacks in energy, she clearly makes up for in charm.

Flirting with fans, Allen is the girl you'd like to down pints with at the pub, with a spliff while throwing F-bombs at annoying mugs.

As a follow-up to Gwen Stefani's "lovers reggae / ska chick," original style, Allen is no imitator. Where Stefani's style exudes a baby-doll innocence, Allen's look is rough, but refined. Think 60's model Twiggy meets Marianne Faithfull during her best Mick Jagger days.

Mid-way through her set, Allen performed a duo of covers by Keane "Everybody's Changing," and The Kooks, "Naive," both to a reggae beat, then soonafter announced she was back to her own music, which was "better than theirs," according the singer.

Closing her 60 min. set with the breakout hit, "Smile," a song not to be confused with the classic Charlie Chaplin song of the same name about looking at the brighter side of life, Allen's "Smile," is an ode to the art of a jilted lover's revenge.

"At first when I see you cry, yeah it makes me smile, yeah it makes me smile," the crowd sang along in unison, hands waving side to side in unison.

Leaving the stage, but returning for an encore to perform "Blank Expression," by The Specials, and the hilarious "Alfie," about a lazy brother who spends all his time smoking weed and playing video games, it was the perfect ending to a show that lived up to its hype, further establishing Allen as the soundtrack to summer.

-Matt Munoz, Bakotopia

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