Capitol Records' Lily Allen descended upon Toronto a second time last Wednesday. Her most recent visit here in February saw her do some
promotion at MuchMusic Headquarters for her sophomore effort It's Not
Me, It's You. Although Allen was originally scheduled to play at the
more modest Phoenix Concert Theatre, overwhelming ticket sales forced
the show to be expanded to The Sound Academy. Wednesday's show marked the
final destination of her UK/North American tour. The tour was not without its share of scandal. Case in point, Allen & Co. were fined $2000 for trashing her Roseland Ballroom dressing room in New York with Ice Cream the night before.
Opening off the evening's show was Seattle indie electro-rockers Natalie Portman's
Shaved Head. Their energetic set exhilarated the audience, featuring
catchy tracks like Sophisticated Side Ponytail and Beard Lust.
Although still unsigned, you can expect much more from this promising young group.
Allen arrived on-stage shortly after 21:30,
delivering a non-stop personable set which showcased a good
cross-section of her best work from two albums to date. She started her
set on a poignant note with Everyone's At It, a track about
acknowledging the phenomena of rampant drug use in society.
show's focus was allocated towards Allen's newer material and
particularly memorable was a rendition of I Could Say. This track
should have been the second single off her latest album. Watch the clip below:
Allen Performing "I Could Say"
the crowd was already receptive to their favourite Brit Bad Girl,
Allen's performances of LDN and Everything's Just Wonderful from
her first album Alright, Still, kicked the show into high gear,
despite these songs being condensed versions.
There were many moments
that gave the audience a peek at the songstress' delightfully charming
persona. At one point, she confessed how "disgusting" she felt in her
sweaty form-shaping Spanx, drawing laughter from the ladies. To further
illustrate Allen's genuine affection for her fans, she had actually
updated local fans via her Twitter account throughout the night with clues to a
"treasure hunt" to free tickets she left around the city for fans unable to score tickets. It turned out that the tickets were
left respectively, at a pub where she ate Chicken Wings earlier in the day, one of
University of Toronto's libraries and lastly, Maple Leaf Gardens, the
now defunct hockey arena.
Serenading the audience with a
cigarette and beverage in hand, Allen succeeded in creating an intimate space with her fans. At one point in the show, she noticed some
audience members near the front quarreling. She reminded us that she
would not tolerate this and committed herself to intervening should she
One could not help but notice Allen repeatedly wiping
her nose with her finger, adding fuel to rumours that she may have been
performing inebriated. Regardless, Allen's performance level by no
means affected. She sounded lovely.
Allen's not-so-friendly ode
to George W. Bush, F*ck You, truly spoke to the audience at the end of
the hour long set. The song's chorus "F*ck You… F*ck You Very
Much…." had the audience waving their middle fingers along in the air
in unison. An unconventional sight.
Saving the best for last,
Allen did a three-song encore starting with stellar first single Smile, which had her amazing four piece band amping things up with a
full-out drum and bass interlude. She then went into recent #1 UK single The Fear, which had the audience doing a majority
of the singing. Although many of us may have heard Allen's cover
version of Britney Spears' Womanizer, she delivered a stomping
dancefloor-ready version of the hit, getting everyone on their toes.
Amazing and hands-down superior to its original; a perfect cap-off to the show.
Despite all the
tabloid fodder that Allen is known for, it is easy to forget that the
she is actually amazingly talented. At just 24 years of age, Lily Allen
has the whole world ahead of her and one cannot help but want to see
what more naughtiness she has in store for us.
To view more pics from the show, taken by yours truly, please click here.