REVIEW: Kesha @ House of Blues 10/04

Photo by Temma Pelletier
Photo by Temma Pelletier

Kesha’s House of Blues performance brought all the theatrics of a stadium show to an intimate venue. With tuxedoed backup dancers and flashing lights, confetti cannons and costume changes, the concert was extravagant for a 2,500-person audience. This is not to say that Kesha sacrificed a connection to her audience. The smaller scale meant she could stop periodically to answer yells of “I love you” with sincerely appreciative impromptu speeches about how lucky she felt to be on tour and surrounded by fans.

To start the show, Kesha played “Woman,” a defiant, exuberant track that had her running around stage putting up the middle finger in choreographed unison with her dancers. From there, she continued to play metal and rock-inspired songs like “Boogie Feet” and “Let ‘Em Talk” among other guitar-heavy picks. Most of these songs were from Rainbow, her newest album, but she worked in some old favorites like “Take It Off” and “We R Who We R.”

Kesha dedicated “We R Who We R” and “Hymn,” one of the singles released off Rainbow, to the LGBTQ community. She also said that “Hymn” was for those who rely on DACA. Though the song was released before any talk of the law’s repeal, it contains the lyric “Dreamers searchin’ for the truth / Go and read about us in the news.” Kesha frequently stopped between songs to share a message of acceptance for people who feel they don’t fit in or are not accepted, a central theme in “Hymn” and in much of her new work in general.

After this portion of the show, she left the stage to change her glittery tuxedo for a white sundress, which signaled a transition to her country-inspired music. She combined songs written more recently, often with the help of her mother, with old favorites reimagined. She started with “Spaceship,” then performed an unexpected medley of “Timber,” and “Hunt You Down,” moving quickly but cohesively from her 2013 Pitbull-backed hit to an acoustic track written for her current boyfriend.

Kesha played some other older songs like “Your Love is My Drug” before saying it was time for her “pretend” last song before the encore she had planned. True to her word, she left for a few minutes before coming back to play a mix of songs she said felt she couldn’t leave out of the show. The first was “Into The Great Wide Open,” a moving Tom Petty tribute that she said was “one of the most beautiful songs.” She ended with “Bastards,” a song that she said showed her current state of mind, which is “so full of love…but don’t try to bring me down, because if you do, you’re just a mean bastard, so go fuck yourself.” During this final song, the audience was showered in pink confetti.

Kesha’s performance was theatrical and personal. She let her strong vocals and high energy carry her through a range of music. She seemed to perform several different shows all in one evening, but they all fit together and flowed easily. As in the rest of her career, she changed styles several times, but maintained unity by focusing on a message of positivity and, of course, by using lots of glitter.

-Temma Pelletier