Thanks to ‘No Shame’, and her autobiography ‘My Thoughts Exactly’, 2018 has seen the proper return of Lily Allen. And thank goodness.
Telling stories and her own truth, Lily has always been at her sharpest and most undeniable when she’s been fearless. Breaking out with ‘LDN’ and ‘Smile’, she had nothing to lose. ‘Not Fair’ and ‘The Fear’ came with a fierce need to prove to everyone else what she already believed. That she could do this. ‘Sheezus’ was proof that she wasn’t very good at being what other people wanted her to be and so ‘No Shame’ sees her take that lesson and run with it.
Tonight she brings that record home to London, for her second sold-out show at The Roundhouse. Starting with the vulnerable, confrontational ‘Come On Then’, Lily bundles up all the accusations, criticisms and tabloid nonsense that follow her every move, then sweeps it away in one effortless flick. Fresh page at the ready, she spends the rest of the evening writing her own story. ‘Waste’ is a boisterous break free that leads into the endless horizon stretch of ‘LDN’ perfectly. ‘My One’ and ‘What You Waiting For’ fall in and out of love, trying to make sense of distance and separation while ‘Knock ‘Em Out’ wants nothing more than to be left alone. They might be a lifetime apart but there’s an unashamed honesty threading them together.
Across the night, old and new are played back to back without awkward division or jarring skips. Lily has always cut and paste from whatever caught her eye, a pop magpie with the whole world to draw from, and tonight is a giant scrapbook of excitement.
There’s sadness, dejection, loneliness, hope and fury painted across the night. The Fear’ and ‘Apples’ are scared about a future that’s already happened while ‘Not Fair’ and ‘Family Man’ are selfish and frustrated but through it all, Lily attempts to find answers and share them.
And she does with the closing one-two of the night. ‘Trigger Bang’ sees her starting anew away from toxicity and negativity, “goodbye bad bones, I’ve got bigger plans” before ‘Fuck You’ rounds out the evening with a barbed reply to anyone who wants you to change for them. Twelve years in, and Lily is as necessary and inspirational as she’s ever been.
Words: Ali Shutler