Ke$ha Verizon Wireless Theater April 29, 2011
See more wild 'n' crazy pics of Ke$ha (and her fans) in our slideshow.
Before Ke$ha even hit the stage for her sold-out show Friday night at Verizon Wireless Theater, we saw limos full of prom-ready teens pulling up to the venue, mounds of glitter were embedded into the cracks in the pavement surrounding the building, and the image of an empty glitter container and three cigarette butts will be ingrained in our brains for all time. Or at least the next few weeks.
There were Ke$ha spirit hoods on sale at the merch table, those animal-head fashion accessories we saw all over SXSW in March. One shirt from opener Beardo had the word "school" crossed out like so many '80s drug ads.
Beware the textbook like that ugly boy who smells in biology class.
Perhaps the best thing about Ke$ha is the confusion and anger she creates in the hearts of people who claim to know better. There were terse blogs going up last week leading up to the show from hand-wringing, self-appointed harbingers of decency and cool (since when did they go hand in hand?), decrying her lack of depth, and saying she was what is wrong with music today.
Now, after last year's Ke$ha show at House of Blues, we unloaded on her in our review, without getting the joke, saying "With some extra grime and maybe a better producer, Ke$ha could be lethal one day. Not in the overdose or car-crash way either. If she stopped Autotuning everything to death and embraced a truer decadence, she may have a chance at something."
And on Friday night, she seemingly went into that very hallowed direction we had in mind, and instead unloaded on us like so many scared housewives into paper targets at the gun range. It was a much better show, and she's got a defined presence now. It may not be palatable to most, but it's working.
Let's get level here for a second though. For someone who gave up giving a shit a long time about what liking a band or an artist meant to the peanut gallery, Ke$ha is actually refreshing, because we don't have to pretend that there is anything else going on except a good time.
We can't claim to be scared for the current generation of girls germinating at shows like Ke$ha because we are years off from having monsters of our own, and to tell you all the truth, any supposed trauma they incur from a Ke$ha show will keep people like ourselves in business for years with sleazy rock and roll and synth-pop until at least 2020.
And besides all that, the kids were having fucking fun, and as someone who has been happily doused in Faygo, that's the most important thing.
Her stage is like a smaller Lady Gaga stage, with four compartments like the Monster's Ball set-up. She's pretty much making all the music herself from inside a blue diamond onstage for these first few songs. Surrounded by two banks of machines, with even a theremin up there. Yes, a theremin.
"Houston my name is Ke$ha, and tonight I want to see you all on your very worst behavior." Damn, the things you can make money saying to children these days is amazing. A few small girls, who are at least in elementary school just ran by covered in glitter and wearing fluorescent camo paint on their faces.
See now, Lady Gaga wants to make you think about human rights and be yourself now matter how you were born, but Kesha just wants you to fuck, drink, and steal. That's not so bad right? Granted you are all consenting adults.
"Blow," starts and she's jerking off a glitter cannon, and now Santa Claus is onstage.
She yells "Now boys, that's no way to get a hand job," during "Blah Blah Blah" we think, but can't be sure. Oh man, the ride back home is going to be a treat when someone's pre-teen daughter or son asks how they can get a hand job.
"Party At Rich Dude's House" starts with the drummer holding a "BONE ZONE" sign. For a second we got a flash of Prince-style hedonism and a cold wind blew through our bones, and we watched the very thought fly off into the glitter that the crowd is being showered in a few yards in front of us.
"I eat men because I'm a motherfucking cannibal." A male dancer is now getting strapped onto an X onstage you would find at a sex show. Minutes later he's ripping limbs off and eating his heart, and blood is coming down her face and arms.
During "Dinosaur" there are skeletons onstage with Juggalo-type make-up on using walkers for the song about older men hitting on younger girls. Just then, we took ten steps back from the crew of high school kids dancing a few inches away.
"I tried to take him to the Bone Zone and he just wanted to talk. (fart noise)." There's a boy onstage onstage now, who has been tied up with plastic wrap. Here comes a dancing penis onstage, to whip the boy with its nut sack. Someone's daughter is here.
"Jesus on my neckahlussluss," is the best line in a pop song since "This shit is bananas."
Oh my, here comes the Beastie Boys' "Fight For Your Right" as the final song, with Santa Claus on lead vocals, a dinosaur pinata above the stage, male dancers throwing Ke$ha-branded condoms out into the crowd, more glitter, and the woman herself shrouded in a Texas state flag swinging a bat at the dinosaur before she jumps onto it, ripping it down and throwing the head into the pit.
That's probably the strangest paragraph we have ever written, and every word is true, so help us God, Lemmy, or whoever it is we believe in the most this week.
Personal Bias: Glitter and blood.
The Crowd: Same as last year's at the HOB ("your little sister, her girlfriends, your ex-girlfriend...") but with a few more twentysomething girls than last time, thanks to local watering hole Grand Prize putting Kesha next to Motorhead in the bar's jukebox.
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Overheard in the Crowd: Too scared to get close enough to hear anything, and what kind of sick fuck walks up in the close vicinity to kids barely old enough to drive to hear their conversations? OK, we did hear something about the pool at that one girl's house and that her parents were cool with whatever.
Random Notebook Dump: Huh-huh, "dump."