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Concert Reviews:
Ke$ha, LMFAO keep the party rockin' at DTE

for Journal Register Newspapers

Posted: Saturday, August 27, 2011

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INDEPENDENCE TOWNSHIP -- Ke$ha was Friday night's (Aug. 26) headliner at the DTE Energy Music Theatre, but opening act LMFAO coined the best term for the music the near-sellout crowd heard from both acts.

Party rock.

And the party was indeed the focus as the hordes of teen and tween fans -- mostly female, most sporting glittery, Ke$haesque day-glo outfits and traveling in packs -- descended on DTE with infectious, end-of-the-work-week exuberance. They were ready to dance, sing along and shout back anything that was yelled to them from the stage. They were not, as Ke$ha requested, on their "very worst behavior," but everyone still managed to have a great deal of fun from the start of Spank Rock's middling opening set to Ke$ha's encore of the Beastie Boys' "(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party)," led by a stocking cap-wearing roadie she called Santa.

LMFAO, of course, has turned "party rocking" into a genre as well as a title for its two albums and its hit single "Party Rock Anthem," which spent six weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard 100 this summer. The duo of Redfoo and SkyBlue -- the son and grandson, respectively, of Motown founder Berry Gordy, Jr. -- stayed in high gear throughout its action-packed 80 minutes on stage, aided by nine dancers and a variety of gleefully cheesy, dollar-store style props, including faux palm trees, beach balls and an inflatable zebra that was passed into the audience and around the DTE pavilion for most of the set.

LMFAO's tunes won't exactly make anyone forget the Temptations or Four Tops, but they kept the crowd dancing in the seats as the group pounded through "Rock the Beat II," "Sorry For Party Rocking" (which they're not, of course) and "Get Crazy." The troupe adopted an aerobic workout motif for "Put That A$$ to Work" and changed the lyrics of "I'm in Miami Bitch" to Detroit; Redfoo also noted the duo's Detroit roots and paid tribute to their aunt Esther Edwards Gordy, the Motown Historical Museum founder who passed away earlier in the week.

"Party Rock Anthem" and the new single "Champagne Showers," meanwhile, featured plenty of extreme dancing stunts, while "Shots" closed LMFAO's portion of the show with all the underage fans chanting along as the performers toasted them from the stage.

Ke$ha, meanwhile, basked in an ascendance that saw her go from opening for Rihanna a year ago at DTE to packing the place herself -- and also selling out the Fillmore Detroit in February. She's riding the momentum of six Top 10 hits from her debut album ("Animal") and EP ("Cannibal") and is essentially on a victory lap this summer before hunkering down on her next album.

So there was a confident, self-satisfied air to the 85-minute show that featured the same metallic, "Road Warrior"-style stage set and used most of the same props as the Fillmore performance. Ke$ha saluted the crowd with her two middle fingers extended as she sang "Sleazy" from a platform rimmed by a diamond-shaped light rig, then came down to stage level to join her four dancers (two of whom also sang backup) for "Take It Off." Save for the ballady changes-of-pace "The Harold Song," Ke$ha's band kept things moving with a steady, clubby synth-pop throb, while she kept the glitter and F-bombs flying throughout the set and even did a cartwheel during "Party at a Rich Kid's House."

Ke$ha's take on performance art was closer to Lady Gaga than Madonna, with a bit of good buddy Alice Cooper thrown in -- the latter during "Cannibal," when she strapped one of her male dancers onto an X-shaped restraint and pretended to rip his heart out. When the frame was turned around there was a skeleton where the dancer used to be. For "Grow a Pear" she brought a fan up from the audience, had him Saran wrapped to a chair and poured glitter on him while he was buggered by dancers dressed as a pear and, yes, a penis.

Ke$ha's show only hit some speed bumps during interludes built in to allow for costume changes, but she usually brought things back on pace with strong renditions of favorites such as "Blah Blah Blah," "Your Love is My Drug," "Tik Tok" and "We R Who We Are." And fortunately for her, the DTE crowd was well-schooled in the adage that a Dee-troit party don't stop, even if the party on stage does.

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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