Enmore Theatre, February 5 ★★★½
For all the hits and misses over Lily Allen’s rollercoaster career, there’s one song and one sentiment that will never go out of style. Anger and expletives wrapped in a cheery Madness-lite piano pop bubble, F— You is a guaranteed crowd pleaser because we’ve all felt that way at one point or another.
Blonde truth bombshell: Lily Allen’s newer work is less blunt, but with sharper insight.Credit:AP
Normally, Allen dedicates the song to US President Donald Trump, but after reading about Liam Neeson’s decades-old revenge fantasy she instead delivered it to the “gross” actor who is “racist as hell”.
Any nuance of the Neeson case was obliterated in a rousing finale to a show as patchy as her career: at times sublime, at times ridiculous, usually charming and not quite as brilliant as it ought to be.
It began smoothly with Come on Then, the opener from last year’s post-divorce comeback album No Shame; LDN from her 2006 debut was an early fan favourite.
The newer material dominated the early part of the set and showed a more mature and sophisticated songwriter; what Allen may have lost in bluntness she’s gained in piercing insight. Latest single Lost My Mind is a moving example, but better still is the unreleased Party Line, electropop built for a night out with lyrics of regret designed to haunt you the morning after.
Allen battled a cough with good humour and pineapple juice (a medical tip from Instagram, so it must be true) but the middle of the set drifted a bit. The staging was minimalist to the point of laziness with nothing more than lights, smoke and two static musicians accompanying her.
Ten years since No.1 album It’s Not Me, It’s You was released, its singles still resonate most. The Fear’s sly take on consumerism and online celebrity prophesised the Kardashians, while the quasi-country Not Fair is a barn burner. Ending with a major F meant fans could leave satisfied.
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