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Concert Reviews:
Kesha puts lawsuit aside to party at Saint Andrews Hall

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

Posted: Friday, August 12, 2016

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DETROIT -- Kesha Rose Sebert isn't obvious enough to cover Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive" or even play it over the P.A. But that was the sentiment that prevailed during her concert Friday night, Aug. 12, at Saint Andrews Hall.

The Nashville-raised pop songstress is in the middle of a nasty lawsuit with producer/label chief Lukasz "Dr. Luke" Sebastian, alleging both business impropriety and sexual assault. The ongoing litigation has rendered her unable to release new music, though she is writing and recording -- and has also received plenty of support from her colleagues in the creative community.

Her summer F*ck The World Tour, then, is intended to show she's alive and well and as irreverent and defiant as ever -- all proven without a doubt during her exuberant 70-minute, 14-song show before a seriously packed Saint Andrews on Friday.

If it was Kesha lite in terms of size she still harbored plenty of theatrical ambition for a small room. Holiday lights snaked around and on top of her four-piece band's amplifiers. A lighted sign bearing the tour name sat behind the group, and just in front of a gold tinsel backdrop. Two dancers donned reptile masks for "Dinosaur," during which Kesha "slew" one of them, and tiger and chicken outfits for "Tik Tok," firing confetti guns into the crowd while more confetti flew from cannon positioned at the side of the stage.

Kesha herself sported three different outfits, starting with a modified torero outfit before switching to a hippie Wonder Woman motif with fringed jacket and then, during the encore, into pink cowgirl duds.

Fortunately the music was every bit as strong as the eye candy. Kesha was in strong voice and robust persona, dropping enough F-bombs to fill that letter section of the dictionary, though making only a couple of references to her (expletive) lawsuit. The repertoire was intriguing; The big hits were there ("We R Who We R," "Your Love Is My Drug," "Blow," the Pitbull collaboration "Timber"), but so was the lesser-known "Boots & Boys," which Kesha insisted was the No. 1 choice from a fan Internet poll.

Then there were the covers. Pronouncing Iggy Pop her "favorite artist of all time" -- and acknowledging he hailed from Ypsilanti -- Kesha played a solid rendition of his "Nightclubbing," then offered up Britney Spears' "Til The World Ends," which she co-wrote and which Kesha said she'd never done before in concert. The encore, meanwhile, was a chancy but rewarding set that included a spectral take on Dolly Parton's "Jolene," the twangy "Old Flames" -- another Parton hit co-written by her mother, Patricia "Pebe" Sebert -- and "I Shall Be Released," the Bob Dylan & the Band staple Kesha said "speaks to me" for obvious reasons.

There's no knowing yet when Kesha might be free and clear of the legalities. But on Friday she proved she's hardly wallowing in the rancor -- or, as Kesha put it, "I'm not about to just sit around waiting to die." And rest assured there's clearly more life in her than any lawsuit can neutralize.

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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