Thursday, April 21, 2011

Ke$ha: Glitter strewn among trashy tunes

Ke$ha (pictured in Los Angeles last year) hit the House of Blues Tuesday. (Mario Anzuoni/Reuters/File)

At: House of Blues, Tuesday

Hard to believe it’s been less than two years since electro-pop vocoder dervish Ke$ha sprang forth onto the pop radar in a messy glop of glitter and whiskey-boasts with the release of her debut hit “Tik Tok.’’ Say what you will about the dominance of a certain other blonde dance-pop star, but we’re living in a post-Ke$ha world now. How downtrodden the city’s dance floors, how gray the world’s lipstick must have been in those B.K. years. (There was certainly less vaguely tribal face paint anyway.)

Plenty of that on display on Tuesday at a sold-out House of Blues for the all-ages crowd of squealing teenagers, mortified chaperones, and uncomfortable 30-something observers, particularly when she sang, “Old man, why are you staring at me?’’ during the song “Dinosaur’’ — at which point I promptly stopped having fun. (One plus side to the age demo: Despite all of Ke$ha’s songs and stage banter about getting wasted, the lines at the bars were virtually non-existent.)

Descending from an elaborate stage rig that was a cross between the set of “Tron’’ and an installation of artful piping, the 24-year-old performer sang perched from on high in a bedazzled flack jacket and a glowing helmet, although multiple costume and set changes followed. Conveniently, many of her ridiculously memorable anthems like “Your Love Is My Drug,’’ “Take It Off,’’ and “We R Who We R’’ also served as real-time descriptions of what was transpiring in the crowd: “We’re dancing like we’re dumb’’; “I’ve got that glitter on my eyes’’; “This place about to blow.’’

A decadent bass-thump was presumably laid down by a synth band of backup musicians and dancers (at least one of whom belted forth a stellar upper register harmony), decked out as Santa Claus, extras from “The Warriors’’ and the sickest zombie skateboarder catalog ever, while Ke$ha took a few chancing swipes at a guitar, a post-apocalyptic keytar/spear contraption, or a drum pad. By the end she proved true to her word, the place did, indeed blow, and explosions of glitter from the rafters saw to it that we all had it in our eyes.

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