Kelis, The Liquid Rooms, Edinburgh

Believe the hype, R&B's great talent has found her feet again
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The Independent Culture

Even before Edinburgh reached its artistic overload, tickets for Kelis at the Liquid Rooms - a small venue - were like jewel-encrusted gold ingots. At its mid-Festival zenith, the city is saturated with shows but the prospect of catching one of the brightest hopes of American R & B in such intimate surroundings made this concert the hottest ticket around.

Even before Edinburgh reached its artistic overload, tickets for Kelis at the Liquid Rooms - a small venue - were like jewel-encrusted gold ingots. At its mid-Festival zenith, the city is saturated with shows but the prospect of catching one of the brightest hopes of American R & B in such intimate surroundings made this concert the hottest ticket around.

Kelis Rogers arrived at the Liquid Rooms basement from supporting Britney Spears's US stadium tour, which is as ludicrous a concept as Aretha Franklin opening for Victoria Beckham. But tonight was all Kelis, making her Scottish debut. The lights blaze out and there she is, almost demurely dressed in jeans and a flowing blouse.

She was so close you could see that she can sing (a moot point these days) and is maybe the most talented of all the US rude girls who hi-jack the UK charts. Bouncing back after the commercial failure of her second album, Wanderland, Kelis seems at ease with the audience and has little problem finding her dancing feet again with songs from her new album, Tasty, as vibrant, explicit and exhilaratingly sensual as anything by Christina Aguilera or Li'l Kim.

While her contemporaries seem increasingly geared to MTV porno-soul, Kelis allows the music to take precedence and re-shapes her Harlem jazz-soul roots into a new mix of musical style. And as this relaxed yet enthralling set showed, she can be as sexy as hell and still carry musical muscle and class.

This is an artist filled with a newly revived daring. For once, the hot-ticket tag was entirely justified.



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