It was a performance of celebration rather than lament.
Since exploding on Myspace in 2006 with her ballet skirt, sneakers and her breakout debut single ‘Smile’, Lily Allen has not changed who she is for anyone. Her no-fucks-given attitude is a breath of fresh air in what can feel like a narcissistic world of social media-driven egotism and social empathy.
Often the target of media tabloids for her outspoken nature, relationship breakdowns and more recent stories from her book My Thoughts Exactly, Allen’s No Shame Tour show at Melbourne venue, The Forum, made us forget about her as a news story and celebrity, and showed what a truly magical and relatable musician she is.
From a 50-year-old bloke in a Melbourne Storm jersey to the 18-year-old girls in their Converse high-tops, Allen fans are die-hard and hardcore; and there’s no questioning why. As Allen kicked off her Wednesday night show with her hit ‘Come On’ from her latest album, No Shame, she sang to the crowd as if they were collectively an old friend and ally. Even when smashing out hits from her newest album, with her more musically produced sounds that have a more sexy, monotone and electronic vibe than her pop hits, Allen filled the venue with a feeling of courageous familiarity.
No Shame standout ‘Trigger Bang’, which features rapper Giggs, was a huge hit with the crowd. Mixing her old-school hip hop meets pop style with her new electronic vibe, this track bridged the gap between the old and the new fans with sublime.
View this post on Instagram
Despite having a scratchy throat, Allen smashed out fan favourites such as ‘LDN’, ‘Knock ‘Em Out’ and ‘Smile’ in her sweet-with-a-sharp-tongue London accent. Even with her new found maturity, she nails the classics in the same way she did ten years ago.
Dedicating her track ‘Not Fair’ to the ladies in the audience, and even asking the men to turn their back to her, Allen sang one of her cheekiest tongue-in-cheek tracks to date. As she sings “and then you make this noise and it’s apparent it’s all over” in her overly innocent voice, there’s a sweet irony that no other artist is able to replicate the same way.
Offering the crowd exactly what they wanted, Allen even threw in a never-before-heard track ‘Party Line’as well as her Like A Version cover of Lykke Li’s ‘Deep End’. Giving the show all that she had, and even sneaking in a cup of tea during songs, it’s clear Allen stands for something that deeply resonates with her fans. Whether it be politics, a selfish lover or missing your kids, Lily Allen is for everyone.
In true and expected Lily Allen style, she finished off the show with her banger ‘Fuck You’. Normally dedicated to Donald Trump, a man she proudly detests, Allen dedicated the final tune to (allegedly) disgraced actor Liam Neeson as she shouted, “since when do we call racism being primal?”
It was hard to believe Allen had taken a four-year hiatus from music. As she danced around on stage with her shy confidence, there was no doubting that Lily Allen was, maybe for the first time in a while, content.
Highlight: Lily performing ‘Knock ‘Em Out’ and feeling an overwhelming sense of nostalgia and empowerment.
Lowlight: Wankers in the audience getting into a fight. It’s Lily Allen!
Crowd favourite: When she played ‘Smile’ the crowd got what they’d been waiting for.