Thursday, April 21, 2011

I can't get the glitter out of my chest hair after the Ke$ha concert

Posted By on Thu, Apr 21, 2011 at 5:11 PM

Perry Julien
  • Perry Julien
When I first heard Ke$ha, I hated her. I thought she was nothing more than this generation's Avril Lavigne, which might be the meanest thing I've ever written given how loathsome Avril is. I didn't get the dollar sign. I didn't get the faux attitude. But then more of her singles were released and subsequently stuck in my head, until the day came when I couldn't wait to see her live. Though still heavily produced, Ke$ha doesn't present the slick styling of Gaga or Katy Perry, but instead sports smudged makeup, messy hair and glitter stuck on from last night's party. Her aesthetic of ironic sleaze and serious partying is that of a UCLA art school dropout, and sleazy partying and serious irony are two of my favorite things.

I got to the Tabernacle fairly early for the Get Sleazy Tour on April 20, and was shocked by the number of high school girls in line dressed like ’80s hookers. I don't know what I was expecting, but it probably speaks more to my taste in guilty pleasures. The security guard put my 21+ wristband on so tight it practically cut off my circulation, no doubt trying to keep the tweens from getting "slizzed." That was a lost cause.

I first squeezed my way into the hormonal crowd around 8 p.m. It was already tightly packed despite an opening act not yet played. Mean Girl posses were everywhere, and I was next to one pack of tweens in particular. At least I was taller than everyone else for once. Behind us were a late-30s couple who refused to go with the ebb and flow of the audience. Immediately after I got there, one of the high school girls turned around and in her snottiest affectation said, "Um, you're like 50 fucking years old, why are you even fucking here? Go the fuck home." Granted, the older couple was being uncooperative, but where did this indignation come from? Then, the older woman snapped, "You are not classy!" The girl shot back, "Oh, I'm classy. You're not classy." I felt like I was in the "Real Housewives of the Tabernacle." All these little girls had so much rage. I must have forgotten how horrible being in high school is. After I moved to a different area of the venue, two 13-year-old girls were furiously making out with each other — violently jutting their tongues into each other's throats and knocking into others so hard that a security guard nearly kicked them out. What had I gotten myself into?

Perry Julien
  • Perry Julien
Ke$ha's opening act, Beardo, has to be the worst musician alive. Scratch that — the worst human being alive. Where as Ke$ha has an ironic smirk, Beardo is straight Cheez Whiz. With a brown curly wig on top of a straight blond wig and wearing tight hot-pink Lycra pants, his songs were vacuous and not even catchy. "This is an American Anthem" left little subtly. Both Beardo and Ke$ha were very pro-America. The best thing Beardo did was act as a bar mitzvah emcee hyping the crowd up for Ke$ha after every unlistenable song.

Ke$ha started her show with "Sleazy," of which Bangladesh, the song's producer, told CL, "She's rapping, and really killing it." A large florescent light square surrounded an elevated Ke$ha as she wore futuristic glasses and banged on a glitter drum. The lights made the stage setup, as did Ke$ha's bright blue lipstick. Her glitter ribcage-like leotard, one of a handful of outfits, would have made Alexander McQueen proud. But her best assets were her dancers, donned in post-apocalyptic gay club wear, who moved around the stage like it was a well-choreographed joke. The whole show was kind of like a high-budget, low-minded art project. During "Grow a Pair," her ditty about guys with "manginas," a dancer first came out in a giant pear outfit. Next a dancer in a giant flesh-toned penis came out. "Mr. Penis!" Ke$ha squealed. Then the three broke out into a simple routine.

Despite projecting a spontaneous, party-hardy image, Ke$ha did little on stage that was off script. Her encore of her breakthrough single, "Tik Tok," preceded her backup crew performing a cover of the Beastie Boy's "Fight For Your Right" while Ke$ha and her gang flailed around stage and broke a pinata full of naughty goods. But as much as I enjoyed it, I couldn't help but wonder what the 13-year-old girls took away from the show. That's my issue with Ke$ha. Her music has wink for listeners my age, but these kids don't get the irony. I bet many of them didn't even know who the Beastie Boys are. But I survived the hoards of crazed high school girls. I persisted despite the wasted moms falling over the stairs. And a day after the Ke$ha show, I still have glitter in my chest hair.

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Ke$ha at the Tabernacle

Ke$ha at the Tabernacle

Ke$ha brought her "Get Sleazy" Tour to the Tabernacle on Wednesday, April 20.

By Perry Julien

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