Lana Del Rey, Scala, London

 

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The Independent Culture

As YouTube sensations go, Lana Del Rey is champagne to Justin Bieber's 60p soda. The singer from New York has built a fanbase of twentysomething hipsters who are a totally different species from the "Beliebers" after gaining more than six million hits on the website for her single "Video Games" in a matter of months.

A couple of thousand of these stood waiting to hear Del Rey for over an hour at the Scala, before being treated to a set consisting of eight songs that lasted just over 30 minutes. Well, that's what you get when you pay to see an artist who is so new she hasn't released an album yet.

The Del Rey hype machine has been in overdrive for months bringing much unfair criticism with it. Bloggers moan that she is inauthentic, that her image is manufactured and that her YouTube success is the result of a careful PR campaign rather than "real" homemade web promotion. It is hard to know what is true, but live onstage Del Rey's talent and searing vocals are hard to dismiss.

One or two excellent songs, which plaintively demand why "dangerously flawed" men don't love her as much as she adores them, provide flashes of brilliance that make one suspect this artist has the potential to reach the dizzy heights of stardom.

It is difficult to discuss Del Rey, real name Lizzy Grant, without mentioning her appearance. She has all of the sex appeal of a golden era Hollywood starlet. She resembles Brigitte Bardot and uses Jessica Rabbit-esque simpering to seduce her audience.

This grates after a while, but I seem to be the only one to care as the hollers and wolf whistles attest. Del Rey spun through "Born To Die", "Blue Jeans" and "Million Dollar Man" before rewarding the audience with "Video Games" six songs in.

Deviating from the prevailing bruised and introspective themes, Del Rey finished with the more traditionally poppy "Off to the Races". Apologising "for what seems like a short set", she left us wanting more. And didn't return for an encore.

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