Despite sluggish ticket sales, much hyped pop roadshow Summer Jam brought it's poptastic line up to Dublin's 02 Arena last night for an evening high of teen hormones, screeching girls and surprising amounts of fun.
Stepping into the 02 was a bit like stepping into a huge teen disco where the smell of fake tan, teen hormones and hair gel could have killed an elephant from a hundred yards. Of course being hip, relevant and at one with the young 'uns I was completely at ease and made my way to balcony seats with plenty of appropriate attitude. I'm sorry, I mean to say I scurried to my seat for fear of being lynched by yoofs.
After some anonymous hip hop duo and Aggro Santos did a decent job warming up the enthusiastic crowd. Alexis Jordan sauntered on stage. I really loved Jordan's debut when it was released earlier this year. A well put together pop album with plenty of charm and a surprising amount of solid tunes, it made a virtue of Jordan's considerable pipes and hints that with enough time she could go on to be quite the huge popstar.
Her short set only confirmed my suspicions. Bounding out on stage Jordan had a level of confidence and sass sometimes missing in her too cute to bear music videos. Whipping her hair and twirling her hips like Beyonce Jr, she nailed many a high note, executed some spot on choreography and oozed presence. After performing a clutch of tracks she was gone but not before belting out a suitably rousing rendition of her first single Happiness. Keep your eyes on this girl, her deal with Jay Z's Roc Nation and production with pop masterminds Stargate hints at big things.
LMFAO were next up and their set was every bit as brash, obnoxious and garish as I had expected. It was also highly enjoyable. Souped up "electro house meets hip hop gone pop" floor fillers were the order of the day from start to finish with rarely a moment for the audience to catch their breath. LMFAO's music is noisy and one note that it's cheeky air and ridiculous outfits that give the whole thing a much needed injection of fun. Joined by band members and freestyle dancers decked in their signature silly leggings and cut off tees they looked like a gang of particularly party hearty clowns let loose with a pile of synths. There was a smoke canon on stage, costume changes and frequent use of the words "party rocking" "the club" "bottle" and "ladies". Cliched it may be but LMFAO spin things into such a goofy, oddly endearing package that you find yourself fist pumping and dropping it low along with them without even meaning too.
Of course the evening's headliner was Ke$ha, the queen of auto tune, the high priestess of trashy pop and She Who Must Have Her Name Spelt With An Ironic Dollar Sign. I am unapologetic in my love for Ke$ha. Before Tik Tok and her insistence on talk singing, she was serving up plenty of intelligent electro pop demos that hinted that the Nashville born starlet had a wit and scrappy quality not usually seen in major label pop divas. She's gone on to become a hugely successful act, managing an impressive run of hit singles from only one album and cheeky added on EP. She's also raised the ire of many a critic with her "wacky" persona, glitter heavy aesthetic and the notion that she might not be that great a singer.
So how does that sort of carry on translate into a live show? Surprisingly well in fact. Opening the show in a light up diamond, surrounded by a bed of synths, branding a light up visor Ke$ha started things on a icy, cyber queen note. A few numbers in she started to stalk the stage like a grubby lioness, all hair flips and swagger. Flanked by a troupe of dancers, backing vocalists and a live bands Ke$ha threw herself into a prop heavy set with abandon.
The singles had the audience suitably riled up but Ke$ha worked enough of a show into lesser known numbers to keep the crowd in a frenzy. Cannibal was an oddly graphic and moody slice of pop performance with Ke$ha n co. sacrificing a dancer while she drank blood from a prop heart. Dinosaur, her kiss off to sleazy older men and the girls they hit on, involved zimmer frames and Backstabber had her boy dancers throw on wigs and heels for a suitably tranny fierce bit of dancing. Even the requisite slow number Animal had the crowd going with Ke$ha showing that yes, she can sing and quite well in fact.
The hits were all present and correct too with many of the songs sounding a bit thicker and less tinny live which matched Ke$ha's surprisingly sultry stage presence. If you could imagine the trademark Britney sexy shuffle and hair flip move given a dirtier, drunk party girl twist with a thumping electro pop backing, you're halfway to imagining the Ke$ha live show. I was much more impressed than I expected and though it's "bad ass rebel" schtick is obviously tightly rehearsed the lack of inane stage banter and air of messy fun gives the Ke$ha live show an edge over some of her contemporaries.
Ke$ha's next big gig here is her slot on the Sunday of Oxegen. Despite my initial cynicism I can see her tongue in cheek, sparkly romp of a set going down very well with a boozed up festival crowd. Put aside your prejudices and give it a go, the Ke$ha concert experience is quite the ride.
All in all, Summerjam was a enjoyable evening of fizzy pop, the concert equivalent of chugging a 2 Litre Bottle of Fanta and doing dance routines with your mates to whatever song just came on the radio. I've a feeling that the gaggle of teens at the show last night probably have a less wholesome way of spending their time but either way SummerJam does a fine job of providing pop thrills. Here's hoping to a suitably exciting follow up run next year.