hmv reviews… Lily Allen @ London's Shepherds Bush Empire
Lily Allen returns to CD racks next Monday (May 5th) with new album Sheezus, perhaps 2014's most talked about comeback. Ahead of release, she made her full live comeback last night (April 28th) and we were there to review things….
Lily Allen, once a gobby pop singer with a string of big hit singles, then a liver of the quiet life in the countryside, now a gobby pop singer once again.
Shepherd's Bush Empire, in the corner of West London, a booking that probably looked a lot better before TFL decided to shut the central line…
Was it full? And how were the crowd?
It was stuffed full, but the audience felt like it was roughly half punters, half industry types, meaning things took a little while to warm up for the crowd, but everybody was on their feet by the end of the show…
So what was the set like? What did she play?
Naturally, given her comeback album Sheezus is a few days away from release, Allen focused on that, airing eight tracks from the album. Kicking off with the album's title track, she showcased some of the album's quieter moments, like 'As Long As I Got You', which is an ode to her husband Sam Cooper, and 'Close Your Eyes', a track more tender than anything on her earlier records.
She also showcased the album's raunchier moments like 'L8 CMMR', which features the immortal couplet 'My lover, my lover, shoots and scores like he's Maradona. Undercover, under the covers, my man is a bad motherfucker'. Ooh er.
As well as this, she ran through all her early hits like 'Who'd Have Known', the jaunty '22' and the whimsical 'Littlest Things', she even reworked 'Smile' to include a dubstep drop and tweaking 'LDN' to give it a rockier edge.
Given it was the live debut of many of these songs, reaction from the crowd was a touch muted, something Allen commented on, constantly demanding more people stood up and danced. She got her way by the end, but it took a while.
Any good between song banter?
Lots and lots, mainly asking the crowd to move about a bit more. She also introduced the punters to various members of her family, including father Keith and her mother in law, which you don't get at every gig.
Did she put on much of a show?
The stage was completely white with a huge video screen, which displayed some pretty arresting graphics. It started with a montage of baby milk bottles that turned weird really quickly and, at various points, during the show, featuring a talking skull made of pills and some seriously phallic space invaders…
What was the highlight of the set?
She finished the first part of the set with a rousing rendition of 'The Fear', which still remains the smartest, slickest and catchiest thing she's written.
Where can I catch her next?
She's got a show up in Scotland on May 23 and then Radio 1's Big Weekend as well as appearances later in the summer at Glastonbury and V Festival.
Lily Allen's new album Sheezus is released on Monday (May 5th) and is available for pre-order in hmv stores now.