all words: Alfonso Rosales
all photos: Francis Chung
Entering the 9:30 Club to see Lily Allen on Friday night, my inner 16 year-old was in full swing. As expected, it was packed with real 16 year-old girls, and at least one seven year-old. I made my way to the front of the stage and settled in behind a pack of young ones clad in pigtails and braces and a guy wearing a bedazzled sweater. In front of me, Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head was mid-set, jumping around in front of a white sheet hanging from the ceiling. I wondered whether Lily Allen would also be performing in front of a white sheet. I couldn’t really put it past her. I had seen her perform here a year earlier wearing awful looking sneakers and cargo pants (maybe), sloshing whiskey around in a glass. She wasn’t exactly my idea of a showstopper. Then the curtain dropped.
Bathed in a sea of white light was a Lily Allen I had not seen before; hand on hip, wearing a blue and white pinstriped jumper, and the same Nina Ricci heels she wore for the “It’s Not Fair”music video (I only know this cause my cousin pointed it out to me, I swear). This was Lily Allen 2.0: a savvier, more sophisticated, wiser Lily Allen…and boy, did she give good show. Her stage presence was commanding but it didn’t take itself too seriously. In between renditions of “Everyone’s At It” and “LDN” Lily charmed her audience with playful jabs at conservatives in Salt Lake City and nostalgic confessions of missing her parents.
She had everyone pretty much dancing their pants off, giving love to all sides of the stage. I must confess that I was a little mad when she dedicated “Not Fair” to the ladies…why leave the guys out of this one? If you cut us do we not bleed? If sex is bad do we not suffer? She ended her set with “fuck you,” at which point everyone in the house was throwing the bird, even the kids and the moms. The song ends and Lily lulls into the microphone “you know what to do for more,” and walked off the stage. It was amazing. Of course she came back on stage, after much begging, and performed her first hit ever: “Smile.” People sang along and I was drunk enough to enjoy it, but gosh that song needs to be put to rest.
By all accounts it was a great night. Who knew hanging out with a bunch of prepubescent girls could be so fun. I have a sneaking suspicion Lily Allen did. This is what pop music is supposed to be like, its supposed to bring out the prepubescent in all of us, just ask the guy in the bedazzled-sweater.