Motherload of talent

Lily Allen sprints through high-energy ‘Sheezus’ show


Emily Burleson

Allen’s neon baby bottles lit up the stage throughout her set.

Emily Burleson, Managing News Editor

Motherhood looks good on Lily Allen.

A stage dripping with neon-lighted baby bottles set the tone for the feminist singer’s sold out Sept. 13 show at the House of Blues, the third stop on her American Sheezus tour.

The crowd, ranging from grown-ups with carefully indifferent expressions, to British families eager for a taste of home, to teens, [enthusiastic, dancing, impatient], packed the floor with minutes to spare before opener Samsaya took the stage.

The Indian-Norwegian singer danced and spun across the stage proudly in her ‘banana pants’, high energy and with clear, peppy pop vocals and electric-reggae drums and bass. Her set included songs from her self-titled EP, SAMSAYA, with an especially high-energy performance of “Jaywalking,” when the audience formed the looping “go go go, jaywalking” chorus. Samsaya’s casual approach to performing matched well with Allen’s style.

Fresh off her spot as opening act for Miley Cyrus’ Bangerz tour this summer, Allen clearly embraced the cheap camp-street style aesthetic, starting the set half an hour later in a dollar-bill printed playsuit and pink backpack straight from Cyrus’ tour closet. Strutting out behind a pack of sleek dancers with “Sheezus”, Allen’s moves did not appear to match her vocal energy – perhaps a symptom of motherhood and settling down, themes that pull the personal album together. Of course, not even Lily Allen can dance in 6-inch emerald stilettos, but she sure knows how to rock Sheezus tracks and her tried-and-true records on the same stage.

Allen’s most popular performances were the catchy, more repetitive tracks from her third album: “URL Badman” and title song “Sheezus.” Interaction with the crowd was rare but special, introducing each song with a zingy one-liner.
Playful but vicious, the highlight of the night was hit “F**k You,” when Allen twerked across the stage as the crowd went wild, releasing the week’s stress in a dance-y, exhilarating moment. This was the peak of Allen’s reckless abandon – the set was only 80 minutes, Allen probably impatient to see her “husband and babies,” in town that night after the first week of her US tour.

Allen’s self awareness that she “can’t just come back, jump on the mic, and do the same thing” (“Sheezus”) with her return to the pop scene was clear during her Houston show, and left me wondering what else she can bring to the table in a bigger venue – she clearly has the plans.