Lily Allen @ Shepherd’s Bush Empire 28th April 2014

After a hiatus of 4 years Lily Allen is back with a brand new album. Alot has changed during those 4 years. Firstly she is now Lily Cooper and secondly she now has a son and daughter. The show at Shepherd’s Bush Empire was the Sheezus album launch which was released the following week. This was Allen’s first big gig since the 2010 joint tour with Dizzee Rascal. In December I witness Lily perform 6 songs at the Under 1 Roof charity concert at Hammersmith Apollo. Since then attending a future Lily Allen headline gig was my number 1 priority. When this went on sale in April I snapped up my ticket straight away. When the doors opened I got my spot on the barrier and it was a 2 hour wait until Lily took to the stage.

Around 9.30pm the venue was plunged into darkness and an intro was played on the massive monitor. It basically showed Allen filling up a baby’s bottle with milk whilst a lullaby was being played. The set kicked off with the recently released Sheezus which also shares the title of the 3rd album. I am literally addicted to this track and it was faultlessly delivered. The moment Allen took to the stage wearing a frilly pink top the crowd erupted into cheers. Now back to this track the lyrics were phenomenal. Rihanna, Katy Perry, Beyonce, Lorde and Lady Gaga were all name checked. “Ri-Ri isn’t scared of Katy Perry’s roaring/ Queen B’s going back to the drawing/ Lorde smells blood, yeah, she’s about to slay you/ Kid ain’t one to fuck with when she’s only on her début/ We’re all watching Gaga, L-O-L-O, haha/ Dying for the art, so really she’s a martyr/ The second best will never cut it for the divas/ Give me that crown, bitch, I wanna be Sheezus”. It was clear to see that this was a real pleaser as the infectious lyrics resulted in people singing along to them. Twerking female backing dancers joined Lily for the synthpop tune Hard Out Here. This was pure perfection, the lyrics were sheer brilliance and the melody in parts resembled Marina & The Diamonds song Oh No. Lyrically this song is conveying the message of the pressures of body image “You should probably lose some weight ’cause we can’t see your bones You should probably fix your face or you’ll end up on your own”. It was then onto the first oldie of the night and this being Everyone’s At It taken from the sophomore LP It’s Not Me, It’s You. Just hearing this live was a treat as it was one of my favourites from the 2nd LP. The lyrics were brilliant and mesmerising at the same time. Everyone’s At It was like a full on force as it hits you right in the face. Now this was superbly delivered and was aided by addictive lyrics. After a costume change it was then onto Lily’s 1st ever number one and this being her début single Smile. Basically this was a revenge song about one of Allen’s ex’s. Whilst this was pure pop there was traces of a chilled out reggae vibe. Straight after it was onto 22 which was an upbeat pop number which was extremely light. I especially liked the lyrics as they act as a narrative to the story that Lily was singing.

As Long As I Got You was up next and this being yet another cut from her new album and was about her lovely husband Sam Cooper. I really enjoyed this new cut. As Long As I Got You was a barn storming country tinged tune aided by spectacular lyrics. It was slightly reminiscent to Faith by George Michael. Who’d Have Known was a slow song and you can see the slight resemblance of Take That’s Shine as soon as the chorus kicks in. I simply love this tune other than being slow it was very soft and hypnotic. It was flawlessly delivered and people were singing along. Straight after it was onto L8 CMMR and this being one of my many favourite new tracks which was showcased this evening. This song has massive single potential. Just like As Long As I Got You it was another sentimental track about her husband. This was electropop and it was delivered at a fast pace. L8 CMMR had a retro feel to it and this was down to the game of Space Invaders which was being played on the massive screen behind Allen. I Could Say was another slow song. Now this was beautiful, dreamy and uplifting at the same time. Lily even updated a lyric as it is her birthday this Friday “But I’ve got a life ahead of me and I’m only 29 this Friday”. Close Your Eyes was a tender sultry sleek RnB tune and was very catchy. Whilst The Life For Me was an entrancing number which is really promising. I really liked the lyrics as they were basically saying about the frustrations of parenthood “I’m not complaining but last night I hardly slept at all/ But actually yes I am complaining/ No energy left in me, the baby might have taken it all/ Cause I’ve hit the wall”. Straight after it was then onto a reworked version of LDN. Everyone joined in with the chorus and I adored its ska vibe. LDN Is a well written song and Lily put in a marvellous performance. Littlest Things was up next. I enjoyed the slow pace and Lily’s vocals were stunning. The chorus was powerful and I found it to be very whimsical. Littlest Things sampled Pierre Bachelet and Herve Roy’s music from Emmanuelle. URL Badman was a dance track targeted at online trolls. Lily delivered this with humour and style. The feel good Our Time was sweetly sung whilst the amazing The Fear ended what had been an amazing evening. Once over Lily and her band left the stage only to return moments later.

The encore kicked off with Fuck You which was packed with plenty of attitude. The lyrics were catchy whilst its chorus was powerful resulting in everyone sticking their middle fingers up. Air Balloon was a slice of synthpop and it was contagious as well. The encore then ended with the countrified Not Fair which was another barnstorming song with hypnotic lyrics that were extremely memorable.

SET LIST

Intro
Sheezus
Hard Out Here
Everyone’s At It
Smile + DNB Remix
22
As Long As I Got You
Who’d Have Known
L8 CMMR
I Could Say
Close Your Eyes
The Life For Me
LDN (Reworked)
Littlest Things
URL Badman
Our Time
The Fear

ENCORE

Fuck You
Air Balloon
Not Fair

OVERALL: From what was showcased Sheezus will be one hell of an album. Sometimes showcasing new material is a bit of gamble but the new tunes which were performed were amazing. There was not even space in the set for the #1 single Somewhere Only We Know which was Lily’s take on Keane for the 2013 John Lewis advert. So out of the new songs only 4 were new as Hard Out Here, L8 CMMR, Air Balloon, Our Time and the recently released Sheezus were in the public domain. URL Badman was my favourite album track from Sheezus. Based on what was performed I reckon Lily has another #1 album.

All in all I liked the fact the set was a mixture of new and old material. I am fully expecting there to be a Sheezus tour by the end of the year. Maybe Brixton Academy could be the next destination.

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