Photo: Shirlaine Forrest
Lily Allen appears to be caught between two worlds at the moment. On one hand, she’s twirling in her trainers, ciggy in hand and a ripe gob to boot whilst on the other, she’s sleeked down, backless and pouting on the cover of the glossies. Choosing La Roux as her support shows that she’s willing to trade off her signature mockney-rough for the recent uprise of electro-pop.
La Roux does it well: Brash yet unassuming, Elly Jackson powers over ferocious synths with fantastic clarity, blasting through the set with the cool confidence that all new kids should aspire to have.
So signature Lily is back, sporting a red puffball and a large glass of Chardonnay. She begins with ‘Everyone’s At It’, the first track off her new album ‘It’s Not Me, it’s You’, before toasting the young boys with an 'accidental' arse flash. There's then the first of many impromptu, funked-up jams, this one energetically mixing ‘Oh My God’ and ‘Everything is Wonderful’ and bringing a sparkly twist to well-trodden material.
There’s a feeling that some of Allen’s latest offerings lack the bolshy weight of ‘Alright, Still’. ‘Chinese’ covers the same old ground of slobbing and takeouts, though her mood appears to have taken a shift to the here and now, rather than reflecting on adolescent crushes. There’s still more than a handful of cheekiness running though it all, with a raucous backing band, wiggling and sing-song finger flashing for the childishliy endearing ‘Fuck You’.
An encore brings Lily out, fag in hand and yanking a new dress into place. It would be sensationalist if there wasn’t the feeling that this happened at every show. She bounces through ‘Smile’ before taking up an entertaining (and bizarrely impressive) version of Britney Spear’s ‘Womanizer’. Chucking her fag-butt on the floor, she’s off for the night, probably to drain the rest of that bottle.
Putting the airbrushed shots next to the rowdy girl on stage, it’s safe to say that Lily Allen wants to be seen as older and smarter for magazine features, but is happy to let go and be deviant as her reputation holds whilst performing. Her new album fuses the young and the reckless with a few shiny pearls of wisdom that help to shove Allen, unsteadily, towards a new level of musical maturity.
CLICK HERE to see stunning photos of the show.