Lily Allen gives down-to-earth performance

Maggie Mallon

Lily Allen wowed fans at the Electric Factory in one of the last dates on her North American tour on April 10.

The first opening act, Aaron LaCrate, a New York-based rapper and DJ, performed a brief set before doors were set to open. LaCrate worked with Allen prior to the tour and produced a remix of her hit single, “Smile.”

The Bird and The Bee, a Los Angeles electronic pop duo, performed second. Their catchy songs and lively lead singer delighted fans. The room was not yet full, and many used this, along with the energetic music of the duo, as an opportunity to dance. Most of the songs performed were from their self-titled debut album, including “Again & Again” and “I Hate Camera.” A cover of Burt Bacharach’s “Do You Know the Way to San Jose” was a definite crowd-pleaser. The band was enthusiastic about its performance and took time afterward to chat with fans.

After The Bird and The Bee finished its performance, the crowd eagerly awaited Allen’s arrival. Her back-up band sounded her entrance with the opening notes of “LDN.” She then moved into “Nan You’re a Window Shopper,” a parody of rapper 50 Cent’s “Window Shopper,” describing the thrifty nature of her grandmother. The set consisted primarily of songs from her debut album “Alright, Still,” including “Knock ‘Em Out,” “Littlest Things,” “Everything’s Just Wonderful” and “Not Big.” She also performed songs from the “Smile” EP, including “Cheryl Tweedy.”

After an hour-long set, Allen exited the stage. She returned moments later to please the chanting crowd which demanded an encore. Allen performed a cover of Blondie’s “Heart of Glass,” along with another song from her album, “Alfie.” She then left from the stage for the final time.

Allen’s music features a unique blend of hip hop and ska. She channels her own experiences in her songs, writing about a hard breakup with a cheating ex-boyfriend, less than glamorous areas of her native London and her younger brother’s penchant for marijuana. She does not try to create a perfect image, and is open and honest with her fans, smoking several cigarettes on stage and even admitting that this concert was one of her first in which she was sober.

Allen kept the mood light and the crowd happy during her performance, moving around the stage wearing her trademark sundress and classic Nike sneakers. Each song was greeted with cheers and applause, and she used breaks between songs to chat with the crowd. Her performance was energetic, and crowd members who were only familiar with her single “Smile” were impressed by her performance.

Allen’s debut album “Alright, Still” is out now on Capitol records. She will return to the United States in May for another tour and play the Bonaroo music festival in June.