Lily Allen | 10.16.06

It's ironic that a girl so unabashedly abrasive also giggles in between songs while wearing pretty little sundresses at her shows.


Double Door, Chicago

It is truly a testament to the power of MySpace when a newcomer like Lily Allen (whose debut album, Alright Still, is still months from being released here in the States) can sell out a show almost solely due to Internet buzz. Just as well known for lambasting fellow Brits like the Kooks and Carl Barât from Dirty Pretty Things (describing the former as "rubbish" in a July issue of NME and claiming in a recent Rolling Stone interview that the latter was "acting like a dick" when she first met him), it's ironic that a girl so unabashedly abrasive also giggles in between songs while wearing pretty little sundresses at her shows.

That, however, seems to be the ultimate irony; as sweet and demure as she appears, dig a little deeper, and you'll discover that there's more to the sprightly 21-year-old than what you would think…which is what made "LDN" the perfect song for her to open with on the last stop of her U.S. tour. Seemingly the ideal summer song about a leisurely bike ride on a clear London day, a few of her observations, however, include the mugging of an elderly woman and "a pimp and his crack whore." Indeed, the lyrics, "when you look with your eyes/everything seems nice/but if you look twice/you can see it's all lies" never seemed more appropriate.

Accompanied by a brass section, a guitarist, and a keyboard player, while there really wasn't much movement on stage, Allen performed each song with just as much sass and backhanded charm as can be found on her album. With a mischievous grin, she mimics the unwanted advances of a guy she surmises is either stupid or "just a little slow" on "Knock ‘Em Out" while just before "Smile," she proudly proclaims that it was last summer's number one single in the United Kingdom, which must've been extra sweet for her considering it's a gleeful tune about reveling in an ex's misery. Most impressive, though, was the crowd's reaction to "Shame for You," as they sung back the lyrics, "Oh my gosh you must be joking me/If you think that you'll be poking me."

Having supposedly gotten into trouble at other venues for her all-too-short set, Allen ended the evening with what are probably Alright Still's two best tracks, "Alfie" and "Everything's Just Fine," the former a high school musical-style song about the lethargic nature of her pot head brother (whom she claims has since gotten his act together), while the latter is a superlative '60s-tinged dance/pop number sarcastically alleging that she's having the time of her life despite bankers denying her mortgages and fashion magazines making her feel bad for not looking like Kate Moss.

While hardly going down in the record books as one of the liveliest shows ever, the intrinsic appeal of Allen's performance is probably the same as watching your best friend's plucky kid sister perform at her high school's talent show. Not as good as it could be, she was certainly better than you expected. Not a bad debut for this quintessential 21st century girl.

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