Lily Allen Venue: The Showbox Date: March 26, 2007
In a moment usually reserved for only the haughtiest of divas, Lily Allen half-jokingly referred to her backing band saying, “They’re nothing without me.” While true to a certain extent, her performance last night proved that the young Brit-pop star is the beneficiary of some seriously talented musicians behind her, a group who, as my companion at the show noted, “Will still be good musicians long after she’s not cute anymore.”
At the moment, however, she is still cute. Taking the stage in trainers, cut-off jeans and a white tank-top that left little to the imagination, Allen and her trademark cockney (or is it mockney?) accent delighted the crowd with a setlist consisting of virtually every song from her debut album Alright, Still and a bevy of bathroom humor banter. A blithe three-piece brass section revealed the ska and dub-step influences of many of the songs, no more so than in the set’s closer, a high-energy version of “Alfie,” anchored by a thumping bari-sax.
Allen also trotted out a handful of covers, including a song by Keane, a spot-on version of Blondie’s “Heart of Glass,” and, the highlight of the night, “Blank Expression,” by The Specials featuring an appearance by the band’s original guitarist Lynval Golding (pictured above.)
Special guests and back-up bands aside, the sold-out house was there for Lily and she didn’t disappoint. Perpetually charming and cheerful and never missing a note, Allen seamlessly shifted between clubbing anthems like “Friday Night,” and stripped down, intimate versions of “Smile,” and “Naïve.”