LANA Del Rey was responsible for a rare moment of unwitting entertainment during this year’s particularly dull Brit Awards ceremony when she thanked her label for “helping turn my life into a work of art”.
Pretentious though that was, her hubris was actually not that wide of the mark, as Lana Del Rey is quite the creation, starting out as plain Lizzie Grant from Lake Placid who, like many an aspiring starlet before her, went to the big city, got herself a glossy demi-wave, lowered her voice to a sultry purr and changed her name to something more glamorous, fashioning one of the more interesting pop brands to achieve ubiquity in the past couple of years.
Like Florence Welch, she shamelessly and seamlessly appropriates vintage glamour and gives it a 21st century makeover. Unlike Welch, Del Rey has neither the lungpower nor stage presence to fill this venue – an upgrade from the advertised two nights in the appropriately deco theatre environment of the Academy.
What she did have though was a Great Gatsby-style palm garden stage set to complement her retro American Dream aesthetic, and the unswervingly enthusiastic support of the crowd who greeted each modulation in her tone, from sweet soprano to husky alto and back, or hint of a hip swivel with squeals of encouragement.
Del Rey, for her part, pressed generous flesh with the fans in the front rows as her set drew to a close with a muscular National Anthem. But elsewhere, her material suffered somewhat from a bloodless delivery. Del Rey’s music is immaculately produced, and its live incarnation just cannot compete for atmosphere – though the evocative Video Games could cause shivers in a sauna. Hopefully with experience she will be able to hit that bittersweet spot more often.