Photo: Shirlaine Forrest
After being crowned best International Female at the Brit awards, and quite frankly, pissing off critics and the indie crowd by riding the cheaply ticketed sexual fantasy train straight to number one, Katy Perry has got to break out the big guns to prove she can be more than a one trick…kitten?
Her first weapon of choice in doing this however is to heavily dress the stage with an inflatable cat and fruit and dress her all male band in white suits with light-up piping. OK Katy we get it, you’re a little on the eccentric side. The crowd tonight (lacking the usual 18-30 year olds the Academy usually attracts) are a mixed bunch of juvenile girls, couples of 40 odd-year-old women , not coupled 40 odd-year-old men and a lining of cross-armed parents around the walls.
Bouncing on stage, 20 minutes late, sporting her new 50’s bob haircut, and dressed in spotted skirt with red mary-jane shoes, she looks like she walked straight out of a Disney film, except oozing with the sex appeal that Snow White never quite mastered. “I’m baaaack” she shrieks to the frenzied front row, cladded with 16 year old’s doting on the Lolita's every word. Breaking into her opening Song Fingerprints with a supporting Blondie type performance to go with it, the track unfortunately does little more than fill the bleak expectations of another pop induced repetitious Perry track with lyrics trying too hard to be individual.
Between songs we are treated to monotonous scripted banter about on/off relationships and a rendition of the hokey pokey divides the crowd into people dancing on one leg and the others wanting to knock down everyone dancing on one leg. But despite the cringing performance of the children’s party classic, it just about passes as an acceptable introduction to her slightly overplayed single Hot n Cold. This encourages a sea of raised camera phones as the hysterical youths howl each and every word.
Again returning to the mic for another session of perpetual and irrelevant dribble about her self-proclaimed ‘what the fuck’ moments and embarrassing facebook tags (she can certainly talk). Her tales of alcohol and drug infused college years are wasted on adolescents that have not yet reached college and folks that can’t remember as far back as college.
Katy’s vocal accomplishment is outstanding during her acoustic solo of Thinking of u, but most certainly not lyrically outstanding. But it all seems obliterated as she comfortably finds her place amongst the rest of the American solo female artists with her settings on simmer in the same producer’s pan that cooked Avril Lavigne and Pink. Both of which sound influences are apparent here tonight. Just as you adapt to the sentimental Katy and admire the pearly high notes she is delivering, we are kicked straight back in to the wacky world she likes to create with her immature playground song Ur so gay (and you don’t even like boys). Another cut men down to size performance attacking an ex-boyfriend with somewhat predictable jibes, conflicting the amourous lyrics of the previous song.
A healthy chorus of ‘KA-TY! KA-TY! KA-TY!’ assures her return wearing a skin-tight shiny leopard print number showing off her great set of….ahem…lungs!!! Crashing into Queen’s Don’t stop me now (someone should have stopped her), she slaughters the song but electrifies the audience leaving them just about set for the dancefloor favourite (and most people’s reason to be here) I kissed a girl which inevitably sees a number of cherry chapsticks being held up and almost redeems the past hour of tedious entertainment.
Katy is the exact image the media has painted of her and doesn’t deliver any more or less than the hyped, inexperienced pastors’ daughter we already knew she was. Not a disappointment in any way and in many ways a bold and satisfying show, but it’s not for the prudish of audiences and it’s a shame to say that Katy has got to work a lot harder if she plans on getting further than a scrape by second album.
CLICK HERE to see stunning photos of Katy Perry live in Manchester