Bush Hall is probably the furthest London venue from my house, but it’s not really that difficult to get to. Just sit on the Central Line for half an hour or so, then walk for 5-10 minutes and you’re there. As one of my favourite London venues, it’s usually worth the trip. Especially tonight. You can imagine just how high I jumped at the chance to snap up a spare ticket offered to me by Neil from Music Like Dirt (thanks!). Then I happily sweated out the 40C or so heat in the tube to get to the sweaty little venue. This gig sold out ages before Lily became the queen of the pop charts (as well as queen of the blogs).
It was as great as I hoped for. She’s doesn't seem to be the bratty kid the UK tabloids are painting her out to be. She’s sweet and giggly, and obviously delighted to be here. Especially here – the West London gal tells us she grew up on the street round the corner, so it’s a homecoming of sorts. Then the ska-pop intro to LDN strikes up and she launches into her set.
There's just so much to enjoy. The band knocking out some great horn-led ska-pop (and nicely reproducing the album’s clever samples live). Lily’s sweet vocals and cute glottal stops. Her spangly dress and dodgy earrings. Her doing all the parts to Can't Knock 'Em Out (including the lechy bloke). Her dedication of Friday Night to her sister "Who likes a drink or two" and who’s down the front clearly loving it. Inevitably she dedicated Alfie to her brother who may or may not have been there.
The fans were up for it too – a real mix of indie kids, hipsters, pop kids, 'normal people', family members, and a few teenage "superfans" (as Lily called them) down the front screaming away. The vibe was good. Heck, people were even dancing, and singing along. This isn’t meant to happen in London! I even deigned to move a little. Being right in front of Bush Hall's new enlarged speaker stack may have helped.
The set is short and sweet. She plays pretty much the whole of her new album Alright, Still, plus Nan, You’re a Window Shopper (her take on the 50 Cent track), and a cover of the Oh My God, which was is right on the button – who’d have thought that I’d be happily grooving to a Kaiser Chiefs song? Strange happenings indeed. The gig seems to make everyone happy. It’s a hot gig in more ways than one. Now that she's a bone fide star, we may not see her at a venue this size for a long time.
Download time: I’m going to upload some tracks for your listening pleasure, though I’m aware that there are some heavies in the US (RIAA) who have asked me to take down a couple of tracks before. The email was in strange legalese and made no sense at all – one of the tracks in question was live radio session which is not commercially available anywhere. Anyway, here are a couple more that aren’t commercially available. If you’re reading this and want me to take it down, please say so (in plain English) and I will.
You can buy Alright Still now too! You know the songs already, but go get it!
Download: Lily Allen - Nan, You’re a Window Shopper
Download: Lily Allen – Oh My God (Kaiser Chiefs cover)