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Lilly Allen: No Shame Tour (Roundhouse)

December 19, 2018

(seen at the performance on 17th December 2018).

New albums mean a new tour for many artistes, and Ms Allen is no exception. Rather glad she did. As a long time fan I’ve never quite managed to make it to a live show until now. It is worth the effort.

The evening actually kicked off with the support act SX, a performer from Wolverhampton with a strong voice (acapella at one point) and even stronger song-writing talents getting to the heart of simple everyday issues like love and mundane work.

On stage 20 minutes after her scheduled time, we know Lily has arrived with her storming introduction, “Come on Then.” A summary of faults called by the media, her repost from her new album is frank and fiery. Was slightly struck by how tiny the lady is in real life – but she packs a punch a million times larger.

Moving on to “Waste,” a contrasting reflective and then we get “LDN.” Crowd-pleaser (with us chanting along on cue), fun original Allen. Back to the newer material with the bittersweet “My One,” showing just how she has matured.

“What You Waiting For, “Lost My Mind” and “Knock ‘Em Out” explore the price paid for that maturity. Aspects of love and loss, delivered with the passion of knowledge.

“Smile” leaps right back to the other way to handle such matters of the heart, trade mark Allen wit.

Totally new song “Party Line” had instant impact on the crowd, and a cover of Lykke Li’s “Deep End” made the pair a welcome mid-show change of pace.

“Apples” and “Pushing Up Daisies” are a return to her own work, both strong numbers about security and repeating patterns of attachment and loss. Perfect segue into “Three” – my personal favourite from “No Shame.” Who can resist the plea of a three year old child busier than her own mother?

“Everything to Feel Something,” an electronic sounding studio number works surprisingly well on stage, but, let’s face it, “The Fear” simply is made for public performance – ranted with vigour here. Later work “Higher” seems a pretty good answer too, while “Family Man” (another favourite) is less a solution than it first appears, and really well sung.

“Who’d Have Known” and a blistering “Not Fair” are another couple of favourites combining honest and entertaining Allen at her best.

Encores “We Could Be In Love” duetting with FX showcased his talent once again. “Trigger Bang” then took us to the final confetti-cannon “F*ck You.” Allen’s politics given an airing, an extra verse bridging the time between writing it for “George Dubya” and today’s “The Don.”

Almost 90 minutes of non-stop hits added up to a pretty satisfying evening. Frankly, the lady deserves a better backing than she had. Not the musicians, just more of them on a variety of instruments rather than relying on electronics. Truthfully, too, why was she playing a small venue on an obviously restricted budget? Does selling out two 4000 seat concerts not justify the bigger and better equipped spaces and investment again in her work? Oh, and it would have been nice to have something seasonal in the mix, “Somewhere Only We Know” perhaps. But then, Ms Allen doesn’t do corny, so maybe not.

Anyway, great to have finally seen this talent in her natural environment, and to know that a recording artist is capable of effortless live performance too.

 

4 stars.

 

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And on that note, the year ends. Taking a break for the season, back on 23rd January 2019 with the round-up of the year.

 

To the Christian community who celebrate on the 25th, a very happy Christmas, to the other Churches whose festivities come later, likewise for their special day. And to all, best of the holiday season and a very happy 2019.

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