[Originally published Saturday, May 7, 8:38AM]
[Commentary by Dave Parkman]
Where: Hollywood Palladium
When: Fri. 5/6/2011
Ke$ha brought her Get Sleazy tour last night to the Hollywood Palladium. Openers were HAIM and Beardo.
Here are some photos of Ke$ha, some of her (many) Ke$halike fans, and some running commentary about Friday's well-attended gig:
The crowd: Many, many packs of young girls (estimated average age: 15-22), occasional small groups of flamboyant dudes, one or two infants (yup, some parents bring actual children to see Ke$ha–one of them was snapping pictures of the scantily-clad teen girls with a mad glint in his eye).
The dress code: Ah, the dress code… Glitter. Animal prints. Glitter face paint. Metallic fabrics. Torn t-shirts. Bare midriffs. Animal print made of metallic fabrics. Wraparound microminiskirts. Nothing fitting properly. Basically, most Forever 21s in L.A. and environs must have been raided by gaggles of young ladies following the call of Ke$ha. (See Jena Ardell's photos below)
The opening acts, part 1: Peculiar choices, shall we say. HAIM (aka, veteran local indie rockers The Haim Sisters) were professional, competent and clearly in command of early slot, even though the Ke$haettes weren't paying much attention to the long-haired sisters and their Zep- and Fleetwood Mac-inflected repertoire. An act more at home at the Echo or the Troub, and definitely a strange fit for the “We Want Ke$ha” clubby girls filing in.
The opening acts, part 2: Ah, good old Beardo… And we mean “old” literally. (Overheard in the crowd: “Is that Ke$ha's dad?” They were not kidding.) Beardo is something in of a local institution, at least in the sub-Paris Hilton, sub-Charlie Sheen, even sub-LMFAO, circles frequented by the likes of Simon Rex/Dirty Nasty and Mickey Avalon. You're probably familiar with this one-man party band that peddles a cross of 1985 Beastie Boys mayhem, 1995 Kid Rock frat-boy rap and 2005 Andrew W.K. schtick. If you saw Beardo doing his act at the Venice Boardwalk (or even at The Smell) it would be hella amusing. At the Palladium, opening for Ke$ha (he was a trouper: everytime he wanted the girls to start screaming he would start chanting “Ke$ha”), he just looked like a strange old dude inexplicably yelling his name and bragging about high-school antics and drugs to a bunch of tarted-up teenagers.
The DJ: Between sets, the girls were treated to the DJ stylings of none other than Destructo, the mastermind of local dance operation HARD. It went (mostly) very well, and he even deployed a left-field sample of the Beach Boys' “Good Vibrations” onto the glittery crowd (kudos). His attempt to ask the largely underage crowd “You guys know about HARD?,” though, failed hard.
And then there was Ke$ha…:
The Ke$ha Cometh: Ke$ha took the stage standing in the middle of a neon pod, wearing neon sunglasses and playing a mad-scientist's array of synths, drum machines, and other devices (was that a Theremin?). She was backed by a proper band of music pros, plus a few dancers, all decked out like their leader in cheap-looking, ripped Halloween costumes.
Her set is short-ish (about an hour), but she's up there working it for the duration. Ke$ha's fans are a devout bunch: not only are they decked out like the diva, but they mouth every lyric with deliberate precision.
It's clear that for the Ke$haettes, Ke$ha's lyrics are meaningful and even full of truth and insight about the human condition. Go to one of her shows to see evidence that what might sound banal, trite, calculated or plain terrible to many of her critics, is actually life-affecting for many 16-22 year old young women with a penchant for glitter, beer and ill-fitting Forever 21 outfits.
The shenanigans: Ke$ha rails against paparazzis. She also pours fake blood on her mouth before singing a ballad. She talks about how awful men are in a way not dissimilar to a kinda crappy lady comedian you might see in the middle slot at the Laugh Factory. She gives the worst lap dance ever to a chump she pulls from the audience, berating him throughout and molesting him with the help of two cheap-looking Furries (one shaped like a Pear–as in “grow a pair”– and another shaped like a Cock-and-Balls). Ke$ha also, for some reason, line dances with a T-Rex and a bunch of undead pirates. All these props/costumes/outfits look like the kind of stuff you see at 75% off in the middle aisle of Rite-Aid on November 2nd. This is, quite likely, a deliberate creative choice.
The one hit: Ke$ha plays “Tic Toc” last, right before the day-glo-heavy encores. It's still catchy. It's still not as good as Uffie.
Should you go see Ke$ha if you're not a 16-22-year-old girl into glitter and ill-fitting Forever 21 costumes (or a flamboyant dude in an Uncle Sam hat and Kanye sunglasses who likes to hang out with 6-22-year-old girls into glitter and ill-fitting Forever 21 costumes)?: Sure, why not? The music is kind of grating and repetitive (except one song from the new EP Cannibal where Ke$ha frees herself from all the brain-softening Dr. Luke formulae and plays with her mad-scientist synth-rig in a kind of rad Joy Division-y–yup, Joy Division-y–way) but, especially if you ask Beardo's buddies where to get the right drugs, it's not a terrible way to spend an amusing evening among a bunch of pretend tarts listening to their sartorial icon tell them how “craaaaaaazy” they're gonna get.
Here–look at some more purty pictures: