“I FEEL like anger is becoming a personality trait, it’s f***ing relentless,” said Lily Allen, moments before the finale of her show, a breezy skip through the righteous dismissal of F*** You. She was talking about the national political mood (Theresa May and Brexit had already been mentioned), but her own emotion range as an artist is more sophisticated than that.
Lily Allen, Barrowland, Glasgow ***
As a figure who knows the smothering push and pull of press attention and life lived on social media more than most, Allen was the subject of much discussion in both forums earlier this year when her memoir My Thoughts Exactly was published, its contents intensely revealing about both her sex life and her mental health issues. Such public intensity of feeling clearly endears her to a hardcore and dedicated crowd. Although there was some space left around the fringes of the hall, the sizeable audience responded with a fierce devotion to their star, with more or less every single person indulging in a football supporters’ chorus of “Lily, Lily, Lily f***in’ Allen!” after early hit Smile and swaying their hands as one in the air to Who’d Have Known.
Allen – wearing mismatched tartan jacket and trousers, and backed by two male musicians playing a mixture of analogue and digital instruments – was as endearingly frank as ever, introducing The Fear as from a time “before Instagram, the Kardashians and the Mail Online were a thing… anyway, f*** social media and vanity.”
Her catalogue of hits is impressive, also including LDN and the bubbly Not Fair, while her explorations in austere electronic pop – including personal/political new track The Party Line and a cover of Lykke Li’s Deep End – emphasised a sense of embodiment of the now which she still comfortably maintains. - DAVID POLLOCK