Lily Allen

Lily Allen

Mr Little Jeans

Tue, September 23, 2014

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

Terminal 5

New York, NY

$35 advance / $40 day of show

Sold Out

This event is all ages

Lily Allen
Lily Allen
'This is trouble,' I thought, the first time I saw the girl coming.

She was hopping across the sunlit backstage area, dressed as a blue pixie, laughing. Her eyes were like black, bottomless saucers. A man said something rude to her and she turned around, smiled sweetly, and then tore him to pieces. I had no idea who she was -- she was just this fizzing cocktail of innocence, fun and abuse. It was at Bestival, on the Isle of Wight, in the summer of 2006. She was barely twenty and, as it turned out, she had just recorded her first number one.

The next time I saw her was after an awards ceremony, in a pub in Mayfair. I knew who she was now. Everyone knew who she was now. She was sitting at a table surrounded by men in expensive suits. There was iced champagne on the table but she looked sad and faraway, like she was being forced to play a game she wasn't interested in anymore. It was the winter of 2010 and a lot of life, a lot of experience, had happened to her in the four years since I first saw her.

I saw her again, recently, across a crowded London restaurant. She was talking, emphasizing a point she was making with a sharp swipe of her hand. She looked happy, clear-eyed, her perfect white teeth bared in a smile. She was twenty-eight now, a wife and a mother of two.

When you listen to Lily Allen's new album it sounds just like that sharp swipe; like a decade of experience, heartbreak, joy, mischief, pain, trouble and fun: the whole of your twenties wrapped in sleek, brilliant pop music.

On "Sheezus" her talent lies not just in mentioning that women get periods in a pop song, but in gleefully mentioning it three times in the same line. And all of this while the lyric goes about its business of dissecting exactly why women in music are automatically assumed to be in some kind of bear pit with each other.

Then you listen to L8 CMMR, which is not so much about a party guest, or someone slow to latch onto trends, but about your lover's powers of delayed ejaculation and your face lights up as you realize that there is much here that will offend all the usual people. And so what? As the late Sid Vicious said, 'I've met the man in the street. And he's a cunt.'

And then I saw the girl again, on my television. She was singing 'It's hard out here for a bitch' while pretending to hop across the screen like a little bunny, like she was doing at Bestival, all those years ago. Like you never see any of those other women do, in their race to be the sexiest, the raunchiest, the nastiest one on the block.

And I thought -- wow.

Somehow, after seven years in this terrible racket, this sausage factory of the soul, she never lost sight of herself. She's a wife and a mother and a Global Recording Star (as they say in America) and somehow, still, she's that saucer-eyed 20-year-old pixie, galloping across a field. She kept her innocence.

I must ask her how she did that sometime.

Lily Allen has been called all these things, and much, much more -- sometimes with justification, often without. She's posh, she's common, she's sexy, she's demure, she's reticent, she's outspoken, she's sensitive, she's shameless, she's loved-up, she's distraught, often all in the same evening. Then she goes to bed, gets up and has breakfast. Then she posts her breakfast on the Internet. Then other people analyse her breakfast. And wonder why she posted it on the Internet.

Contrary, contradictory, occasionally catty, always compelling, Allen, at 23, is Britain's most consistently engaged and engaging pop star, as well as one of our most successful.

She first commandeered the public stage in July 2006, a fully formed phenomenon with a song that would help define that summer, the hugely infectious "Smile," her first CD single and her first UK number one. "Smile" served as an excellent primer for the Allen oeuvre, a breezy, lilting, ska-inflected slice of perfect pop distinguished by sugar-sweet vocals and unflinchingly autobiographical lyrics. It was a song of female empowerment sung by a smart-mouthed, wide-eyed, pretty post-teen in a pink prom dress and box-fresh Nike trainers, fluoro make-up and huge hoop earrings.

"LDN" was, if anything, even more insidious and distinctive: a faux-naïve, text-spelt, profane paean to the city of her birth in all its grimy glory.

By the time of the release of "Alright, Still," her debut album, Allen's stardom was solidified and her public persona cemented: cheeky, waspish, searingly honest, sparky, spiky and satirical. Some of the stories about her were even true.

Lily Allen was born in May 1985 in Hammersmith, west London, the daughter of film producer Alison Owen and actor Keith Allen. It was an unconventional childhood, but not one without its compensations, and it made Allen wise beyond her years and tremendously motivated to carve her own place in the world. Raised alongside her sister and brother in Bloomsbury, Shepherd's Bush, Primrose Hill and Islington, she attended 13 different schools in total before abandoning her formal education at 15 and embarking on a teenage odyssey of innocence and experience: clubbing in Ibiza, studying to be a florist, always hoping to break into the entertainment industry.

She knocked on record company doors from the age of 16, and her first deal came in 2002, with Warners, who pushed her in an uncomfortably folky direction. It was two years later, working with producers Future Cut, when Allen began to find her feet as a songwriter. In 2005 she signed to Regal, an imprint of Parlophone, and, frustrated by the slow pace of the music industry, began to post demos on her MySpace page. Meanwhile, a series of live appearances at the Notting Hill nightclub Yo-Yo in the spring of 2006 whetted press and public appetites.

Meanwhile, Allen provided guest vocals on songs by Robbie Williams, Dizzee Rascal and Basement Jaxx, among others, and made a specialty of unexpected cover versions. As well as her hit interpretation of the Kaiser Chiefs' "Oh My God" alongside Ronson, she has covered The Kooks, The Pretenders and Blondie, and offered a sardonic reworking of 50 Cent's "Window Shopper."

Those people will be interested to learn that "It's Not Me, It's You" might be the only album they'll hear in 2009 that references racism ("Fuck You"); ageism ("22"); the dark side of celebrity and consumer culture ("The Fear"); drug dependency ("Everyone's At It"); and 9/11 ("Him"); but also TV dinners ("Chinese"); premature ejaculation ("Not Fair"); the enduring rubbishness of men ("Never Gonna Happen"), as well as the fragile beauty of early romance ("Who'd Have Known").

"It's Not Me, It's You" is unmistakably Her: bracing home truths and pungent social commentary delivered in the voice of an angel. It's a potent combination. It could only be Lily Allen.
Mr Little Jeans
Mr Little Jeans
A pocketknife is one of the most utilitarian tools you can possess. “It is small but has a million uses. It can open locks, cut ties and be used as a weapon or even for first aid,” says Monica Birkenes, aka Mr Little Jeans. Pocketknife also happens to be the title of the Norwegian chanteuse’s debut album, due out on Capitol imprint Harvest Records in March of 2014. “I see it as an extension of yourself that symbolizes strength, intelligence and courage.” The titular inspiration for her record comes from a line in lead single, “Good Mistake,” which has already entered heavy rotation on KCRW, the preeminent taste making radio station in LA (where Mr Little Jeans now resides).

Pocketknife’s operative metaphor extends to all her music: imbued with mystery and a dazzling interplay between shadow and light. Breathy vocals stab like equatorial sun rays that coexist with nocturnal synths. It’s been like this ever since Mr Little Jeans became a critically revered electro-pop diva a few years back. With a name nicked from a bit character in Wes Anderson’s Rushmore, she quickly elicited comparisons to Lykke Li and Charli XCX, but has carved out her own lane, blending Scandinavian cool with passionate lyrics. Spin raved that her music has “hooks from here to the Aurora Borealis, but [she] swathes them in dark-hearted mystery, bright synths lurking beneath her indelible voice.” The Guardian said her songs won’t escape their heads, calling her an “über-Kylie [Minogue] who writes her own material, has a hand in its production and can boast a clutch of songs better than anything Minogue has done in years.”

While many have placed Mr Little Jeans alongside other Nordic songstresses, her singular voice and sweeping harmonies set her apart from her compatriots. Her breakout song was a moody and contemplative cover of Arcade Fire’s “The Suburbs,” which has racked up millions of plays on YouTube and SoundCloud alone. Since then, her music has appeared in commercials for companies such as Honda, TV shows like Gossip Girl, and in several movies, including 21 Jump Street and Celeste and Jesse Forever. She’s also written and recorded songs for film soundtracks (Iron Man 3), which she greatly enjoys and plans to do more of in the future. “I like trying to capture the mood and intent of somebody else’s story,” Birkenes explains.

Born and raised in the woodsy, seaside town of Grimstad, Norway, Mr Little Jeans spent her childhood immersed in music, be it the sounds of her mother’s guitar or Simon & Garfunkel records. She grew up in the church choir, learned piano and guitar, amassed singing competition wins throughout the Norse countryside. Absorbing early influences ranging from Mariah Carey, PJ Harvey and Massive Attack, she sublimated and synthesized the ability to sing in a way that makes you freeze, as though time was momentarily stopped and you’re unsure whether you want to dance or ruminate.

As such, the songs on Pocketknife are deeply personal and ripe for interpretation. They’re about ambition and dreams and living with no daylight. It’s this chiaroscuro that sets it apart—capturing the feeling of the ebb and flow of existence, each song its own 24-hour saga. You might have the tools to escape, but you won’t want to.
Venue Information:
Terminal 5
610 W 56th St
New York, NY, 10019