It’s been almost ten years since my last Crystal Ballroom show so it was nice to be back at the venue. Once upon a time we used to stay at the White Eagle and cab it in for shows: staying a block away at a hotel named after the venue was an interesting change. And a James Brown themed room overlooking the adult store seemed appropriate. The hotel’s restaurant, the Zeus Café, was a nice place for a pre-show beer and some food. It reminded me of some of the sidewalk cafes we went to in Belgium. Apparently they are trying to do a more upscale foody thing there, less of the cheeseburger and chicken strip vibe and more the wild boar taco (?) kinda deal. The fries were still the best thing we had. (But they had truffle salt on them.) The beers were actually pretty solid. An English style IPA was the high point but the weird berry medley thing actually wasn’t too bad.
Come show time we did the sneaky sneaky (well not so sneaky: there was a pretty big line) enter the back way through Ringler’s thing. Bought some actual Lily Allen merch so as to fully embrace the custie experience. No posters (that would have been fun for the office). Tour jewelry though.
I’m not sure what I thought the crowd at a Lily Allen show would be like. Lots of young ladies that shrieked at appropriate times. Way more of the PBR drinking big sideburned hipster dudes than I expected: gauged piercings, tattoo sleeves and all. And a surprising amount of older folks (the 21+ side was packed).
A band called “Lolawolf” opened. So apparently Lenny Kravitz and Lisa Bonet have a daughter Zoe. And that’s her band. Her and two dudes: drum pads and keys. It was pretty bad. Not much else to say.
Lily Allen puts on a great show. She opened with the title track of the new album. (Sheezus) Typical back up dancers but with a lot less “polish” than I expected. The stage was decorated with four foot tall light up baby bottles. She changed clothes several times. My favorite outfit was a some kind of football jersey with “420” on the back. She did a pretty even set list; covering stuff from all three albums. The arrangements were different on some songs and she did some new material as well. It was really hot and she commented on it several times. Least amount of puffing of any show I think I’ve been to at the Crystal. Just didn’t see it. The sound quality was ok: I was honestly surprised at how quiet it was. I expected a lot more of the booming bass thing. After a fairly solid 90 minute show she came out for a “Hard Out Here” encore (which involved the back up dancers wearing rubber dog masks) and was done by 11:30. Good times!