Ke$ha, with Beardo
Sunday, February 20, 2011
Note: It's rare to find a music critic in completely inebriated, uncensored form. What follows are my uncut, unedited notes of Ke$ha's severely under-aged, sold-out show at the Midland on Sunday night, in which I encounter the true essence of slutwave. Proceed with caution.
Upon stumbling up to the Midland with heels, red tights, and a healthy dose of self-loathing, I found a drunk, crying teenager outside, dry heaving next to two concerned EMT technicians. I figured that I was in the right place.A cloud of smoke wavered over the red-velvet interior of the Midland,
and Ke$ha's signature Valley-girl slur chirped over burning bass and
high-decibel screams. Upon poking a sequin-clad girl next to me, I found
that the starlet had only claimed the stage for one song. It
was (or was it?) about 9 p.m. "I want you guys to go fucking crazy
tonight," Ke$ha intoned coyly. The night had begun.
Drunk note: Her backup dancers look like Pauly Shore.*
*Sober note: This was, in fact, true. Ke$ha's immediate backup dancers donned long, curly brown hair and god-awful patterned vests, very similar to those worn in Shore's 1993 film, Son-In-Law. (Later, I note that her dancers looked like "roosters in leather vests. With gloves.")
Drunk note: "Ke$ha: 'Now, boys, that's no way to get a hand job.' "*
*Sober note: Ugh. Whenever I imagine Ke$ha in the midst of a sexual act, I always imagine her beer-burping in the recipient's face, followed by a nasal, slurred apology: "Um, sorrrrrry."
Drunk note: "There is glitter everywhere. Gaga has gay; Ke$ha has glitter. A lot of people accuse Ke$ha of being a Gaga rip-off; but, really, she's the opposite. She's all chaos, while Gaga is strict, orchestrated control."*
*Sober note: Sort of true. Ke$ha pounded on her drummer's cymbals, doused her boobs in sparkles and fell on the stage, squealing, several times. It was more fascinating than irritating, though: In a brilliant marketing twist, Ke$ha has co-opted the allure of the wasted girl at the party. You know, the one who invariably can't walk and has her skirt hiked up around her hips as her girlfriends usher her out to the car? She may look like a shitshow, but you just can't look away, can you?
Drunk note: "It isn't even that her songs are good. They're not. But she's got so much stupid shit going on onstage that it makes up for it." *
*Sober note: Ke$ha's loose-lipped, hedonistic lyrics are funny by themselves -- as was her between-song banter, which found her dropping words like "boned" and "cunt" into a theater full of underage kids and their dads -- but keytars, gigantic hair, and staged catfights took the self-parody of her bad-girl persona to a higher plane of trashiness.
Drunk note: "So much leopard. And fishnets. On jailbait."*
*Sober note: I'm assuming that this is due to Ke$ha's demands in "We R Who We R": Got that glitter on my eyes / stockings ripped all up the side. Though, I must add that it's hard for 14 year-old girls to look "sick and sexy-fied."
Drunk note: "Rhymes 'famous' with 'anus.' And 'goner' with 'Jeffrey Dahmer.' "*
*Sober note: Really. I'm impressed.
Drunk note: "I smell sneakers and fart."*
*Sober note: It made a lot of sense for the crowd: Nothing better describes the scent of Eau de Middle School.
Drunk note: "Ke$ha looks like Rod Stewart."*
*Sober note: Between her back-combed blond hair and not-curves, the resemblance was uncanny. (Do ya think I'm sexy?)
Drunk note: "Santa will bring me fruit and a penis for Christmas. And maybe glitter."*
*Sober note: Ke$ha has written a song about a kids' testicles called "Grow a Pair." (Her introduction: "Are there any boys out there that want to be abused? Have your balls dropped?") At one point during the show, there was a dude dressed as a pear -- yes, like the fruit -- dancing onstage, grinding on a kid from the crowd. Another dude sauntered out onstage dressed as a giant, 8-foot penis wearing a neon visor and sunglasses, and grinded on Ke$ha, doggy-style. Oh, and did I mention that a guy in a Santa suit strutted across the stage several times, unannounced? (Continued drunk notes: "Is this funny? Where's the bar?")
Drunk note: "I live in Jersey Shore."*
*Sober note: Between the fist-pumping references onstage to "tittays," "steez" and slopped beer, I was suddenly having an out-of-body experience. I had trekked the eightfold path to pop-nasty transcendence. I had reached the Zen of slutwave. I can't say it was a beautiful experience, but it was certainly a sweaty, glittery one.
The night lasted only a spare hour and change -- the show was over by 10:15 p.m., a considerate act on Ke$ha's part for the younger kiddos in the Midland -- but Kansas City was coated in more sparkles and hormones than a girls' junior high locker room. Ke$ha tempered her set with a gigantic shot of comedy, and it was exactly what she needed. She may not be a brightly burning talent, but she's certainly got a party girl's abandon and pair of gigantic, pendulous balls. What else does a pop star need?
Overheard in the Crowd: "She was throwing up, like, literally tons. Like, really? It's my birthday, almost."
"I was a 32 A and now I'm almost a 32 DD. Seriously, feel this."
"Wow. I am so totally having that done."
Four Loko (fruit punch flavor)
Jell-O shots (4)
Red Bull and vodka (2)
Wait, were you asking for songs? Here's a rough list of what she's touring with.
Take It Off
(Fuck Him) He's a DJ
Blah Blah Blah
Party at a Rich Dude's House
The Harold Song
C U Next Tuesday
Grow a Pear
Your Love Is My Drug
We R Who We R