It’s been four years since British popstar Lily Allen released her third album, 2014’s Sheezus. Eager fans who have been waiting for more material from the cheeky singer were rewarded in spades this year. Earlier this summer, Allen released her latest album, the Mercury prize-nominated No Shame. The album finds a more grown-up Lily addressing marriage, motherhood, indulgence, divorce and her past reputation as a brash hard-partier. It’s the same outspoken Lily, but with a softer, occasionally heart-wrenching delivery that still maintains her uncompromising defiance. Following on the heels of the well-received new album, Lily dipped her foot into the literary world with the release of her first memoir, the aptly titled My Thoughts Exactly. The book adds to the intimacy of the songs contained on No Shame, however, rather than detailing her entire life, she focuses on life changing events, chronicling her childhood, introduction to fame, popstar lifestyle, as well as marriage and motherhood.
While a new album and book might be more than enough output for most, Lily Allen is not sitting back and enjoying the fruits of her labor. Keeping the momentum, she has embarked on a North American headlining tour this fall, her first outing in four years. The tour kicked-off in Santa Ana in early October, and is set to wrap up in Vancouver in November. From there she heads to Europe before ending the year back home in the UK. We caught up with the busy singer when her tour recently stopped at the Fillmore in Silver Spring MD.
The crowd at the Fillmore had clearly missed Lily Allen. As the house lights dropped and the stage was bathed in throbbing blue lights, a chant was started from the PA and it was quickly picked up and amplified by the eager fans… With the crowd almost roaring “Lily Fucking Allen!” Lily emerged out of the darkness and started into “Come On Then,” the opening track from No Shame, followed by another new track, “Waste.” After hitting with a double shot of new tracks, she reached all the way back to 2006’s Alright, Still for a spirited romp through “LDN” that had the crowd absolutely hooked after only three songs. The stage set-up was low-key and sparse, with just Lily and two DJ/Producers flanked by light poles in the corners of the stage. Throughout the evening, Lily used the space to stroll around during some songs, while dancing and twirling during others. The highlights came fast and furious, including “Knock ‘Em Out,” “Smile,” “Everything to Feel Something,” and “The Fear.” She even added a brilliant cover of Lykke Li’s “Deep End,” that she explained came from a request to perform a cover song while at Triple J radio in Australia. Lily was personable, charming and engaging, often taking the time to chat with the audience between songs. She also took a few breaks to spray down her throat or sip from a mug, explaining that she was sick. Despite the hint of discomfort on her face from time to time, or the need to clear her throat between songs, she bravely soldiered on to deliver a solid performance. The set closed out with the bouncy neo-hoedown “Not Fair,” which details a lover’s shortcomings, but summed up the evening with its lyrics “Its apparent its all over… Its not fair…” The crowd definitely wanted more, and despite being under the weather, Lily obliged coming back out for a 3 song encore, including “Apples,” and “Trigger Bang,” the hit first single from No Shame, before ending on a semi-political note as she dedicated “Fuck You” to the polarizing US President Donald Trump. The evening was vintage Lily Allen… Heartfelt, lighthearted, defiant, and downright fun.
The evening was opened by Wolverhampton-based singer-songwriter and music producer, S-X. With a recently released new 10 track EP, Reasons, S-X has been stepping out and showcasing his vocal talents, and his opening set proved he can certainly hold his own.
Lily Allen + S-X @ The Fillmore Silver Spring