There’s no party like Ke$ha‘s party. After all, as she sings/raps breathily at the end of “Tik Tok,” the party don’t start till I walk in. Since making her debut as a mainstream solo artist in 2009, the wild child has become a poster girl for debauchery with such tunes and many, many more. But for the hundreds of furry hat-clad, heavy makeup-wearing, and ripped stocking-wrapped fans that came to see her at her Get Sleazy Tour (Which wrapped last week in Phoenix) in Oakland’s Fox Theater on Sept. 14th, crazy was what they came for and crazy was what they got. There were lights, laser beams, glitter cannons, strange and scary stage props, and a headlining performer dressed in sparkly leotards, American flag attire, and in electric blue lipstick and eyeshadow. But it was the music that gave way to a feeling of freedom—specifically, a freedom to dance like we’re duh-duh-duh-duh-duh-duh-dumb.
To kick things off, Baltimore hip-hop group Spank Rock opened with a fun and energetic set that started the dance party in its infant stages. To make it full-blown, LMFAO took over as the featured opening act. The zany duo and their group of back-up dancers tossed inflatable animals into the crowd and donned colorful and sometimes hilariously revealing outfits to perform favorites like “Sexy and I Know It,” “Champagne Showers,” “I’m in Miami, Bitch” (Changed to “I’m in the Bay, Bitch” to cater to the local crowd),” “Shots,” and of course, the mega hit “Party Rock Anthem.”
The main act herself stayed in the dark, only identifiable by her glow-in-the-dark shades to open her concert with the show’s urban title track “Sleazy.” After that, it was easy to recognize her by unruly blonde hair and high-pitched profanity-laced banter and vocals. It was, however, more difficult to tell if she was really playing that electric guitar on the ambiguously titled “F**k Him (He’s a DJ)” and “Blah Blah Blah.” But for someone like Ke$ha, who’s undoubtedly more style than substance, does that even matter?
It was funny to be in the presence of the quirks in live performances of “Your Love is My Drug” (Introduced by handmade “Do you like my beard?” signs) and “Dinosaur” (Hilarious in itself because of its jabs at older men who hit on younger women). It was exciting to see people getting glitter-bombed during “Blow” and be a part of the unusually uplifting encore of “We R Who We R.” But it was most pleasantly surprising to just hear Ke$ha on slower tunes sans the antics, props, and dancers. After proclaiming that “Stephen” was her first love, she took a break from moving to sit on the steps to sing that cute, sweet song about her first love. Then came a song about a guy named Harold. Straight-forwardly stamped “The Harold Song,” don’t let that sloppily-put together title fool you: This ballad is Ke$ha at her most sensitive. Young love murdered, that is what this must be is all that sums it up as she laments the destruction of a meaningful relationship. Sounds impossible that such a song and a decent voice can come out of a girl that seemingly only sings about sex, booze, and rock and roll. If that wasn’t enough, being on keyboard on the sonic-sounding “Animal,” the title track off of her debut album, proved that she can be much more than what the general folk perceive her to be. She has much more up her fishnet sleeves than even I thought.
Ke$ha did what she did best, and then some: Deliver her deliciously [immorally] bad music with the insanely high energy that she has promoted through it. It wasn’t just a concert, but a little more like going to a four-star nightclub where it’s impossible to not enjoy yourself. Sometimes you don’t realize how much you want those kind of nights until you actually live one out.