Katy Perry, Koko, London
Katy can sure work a crowd
Monday 02 March 2009
At a time when rapid rises in the world of pop are commonplace, the career trajectory of Katy Perry has been especially steep. Her breakthrough single, "I Kissed a Girl", was released only last May, but by November she had presented the MTV Europe Music Awards, an event that a year earlier she watched at home.
Now, fresh from winning Best International Female at the Brit Awards barely a fortnight ago, even selling out two nights at Koko in the middle of a European tour doesn't seem that big a deal. When she next arrives on these shores, she will clearly be playing in bigger venues.
There's no doubt she's an impressive pop product – feuds with fellow pop-stars, rumours of high-profile romances and a dress sense that's eye-catching, to say the least, have meant she is rarely out of the headlines. Combine her saucy image with her religious upbringing (she's the daughter of a preacher and her debut album was actually a gospel record) and she would seem a record label's dream.
To be fair to the 24-year-old from Santa Barbara, unlike most pop starlets she has been unafraid to step into the grimy world of touring, honing her live skills on the US punk festival, the Warped Tour. It's likely that there she would have faced a more hostile audience than tonight's crowd, which seems full of teenage girls, many with parents in tow. Camera phones aloft, they greet Perry with screams of "I love you Katy".
From the opener, "Fingerprints", it's a night for high-octane pop-rock songs. Unsurprisingly, it's the singles that are the high points – "Hot N Cold" is the first number to get the crowd singing along, with Perry climbing on to the speaker stack.
Yet, just as on her album One of the Boys, too many of her songs are soft rock by numbers, and when she slows it down even further, the energy starts to ebb away. Fortunately, these moments are kept to a minimum. Also, Perry has the personality and the experience of how to work a crowd that will ensure she's more than just the next Avril Lavigne. She's at her best on songs such as "Ur So Gay", which in spite of its questionable lyrics is a brilliant attack on a former lover – during it she urges all the girls to phone their exes so they can listen.
Although at moments she steers far too close to the middle of the road, the high points more than make up for this. The sense of adulation in the room doubles as, for her encore, she appears wearing a leopard-print catsuit, complete with a tail and pink bow in her hair. Although the subsequent cover of Queen's "Don't Stop Me Now" brings back too many memories of McFly's butchering, the final song – yes, it's "I Kissed a Girl" – truly brings the house down. With its pumping faux-lesbian electro chorus, this is undoubtedly a classic pop song – it proves that if she can stay away from the soft rock ballads, her trajectory won't start dipping anytime soon.
Filming to begin on two new series due to be aired on Dave from next year
TVBBC hopes latest Danish import will spell success
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Indonesia executions: Death row British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford will refuse to wear a blindfold when she faces firing squad
- 2 The man who filmed the Freddie Gray video has been arrested at gunpoint
- 3 How the language you speak changes your view of the world
- 4 Tory activist asked to step down after Labour candidate Rupa Huq is 'manhandled' while questioning Boris Johnson on the campaign trail
- 5 Uploading pictures to find out how old you are gives Microsoft the right to post them wherever they want
The C-Word, TV review: Sheridan Smith shines in a warm, honest account of a woman enduring a still too common fate
X-Men Apocalypse: First look at Jubilee and Jean Grey played by Game of Thrones star Sophie Turner
American Horror Story: Hotel Angela Bassett set to make 'lots of trouble' with Lady Gaga in season 5
Adam Sandler's The Ridiculous Six: Make-up 'used to darken skin of actors to make them look Native American'
The highly NSFW poster for Gaspar Noé's Love makes Nymphomaniac look like 50 Shades
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: SNP and its activists 'openly racist' towards the English, Farage says
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils