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Jack Cullen


This is the shiny new post-Obama, pre-apocalypse Kelis...

...and we’re totally love-fooled by the rocks that she’s got


So, I’m at G-A-Y in Heaven, holding my Red Stripe and excited about seeing Kelis live for the first time since Bossy came out. From the poised-shoulder self portraits to the knicker-blocker-glory quiffs, there’s a buzzing atmosphere. Only at Heaven does a remix where Rihanna sounds like she has her head in a toilet induce jubilation that rivals Wembley circa 1966. Only at Heaven does the mastication of bubble gum become an integral part of one’s dancing rapport. So we pass the 12.30 mark, tops are off, Better The Devil You Know launches around the glittery cavern, and suddenly it’s a 1000-strong sing-a-long. Northerners Charlie Drummond and David Ramsden from BB10 dance without intermission on the stage for two hours, waving at imagined friends and winking at a crowd who are either too old to know them or too young to care as Kylie sings “forgive and forget” somewhat wisely. It's not until almost 2am that the civilians and harrowing BB alumni are cleared away… and it’s time for KELIS. The crowd stop dancing and tune in as Jeremy Joseph declares somewhat arbitrarily but beautifully that Kelis would have won the British election had she entered it.

First of all team Kelis arrive. The DJ tots over to her decks in killer heels, a wedding hat and pearls the size of your eyeballs, whilst a little party of Kelis’ friends stagger over to the wing and clink their wine glasses. Nobody knows what to expect as a fanfare of green lasers beam out from the stage floor. Then a vacuum snatches itself across the air as the first five rows of boys gasp in awe. In a dazzling diamonte Statue of Liberty head piece and a metallic black bodice over a cream bodysuit covered in black paint splashes, topped with interlocking webs of crystals and a bling glove that could sink a cruise liner - the sexy beast Kelis is in the house. She makes Beyoncé look like someone who shops at Dorothy Perkins. This is the shiny new post-Obama, pre-apocalypse Kelis, and we’re totally love-fooled by the rocks that she’s got.

The set lasts half an hour, opening on new material, moving on to sing Millionaire and then finishing on her new hit Acapella. What was special about the set was the effort Kelis put in to gay herself up a bit. One major highlight was her G-A-Y special of Milkshake, sung over the backing track of Madonna’s ‘Holiday’. She was mean girl one moment, showgirl the next. An edgy upbeat re-interpretation of Lil’ Star was another high point, as Kelis tranced-up her line “In the dark of the night you’re all I can see, and you sure look like a star to me”.

Kelis is still on that same cosmic journey that she began in Pharrell William’s student bedsit ten years ago. She’s played a host of male cards along the way – NaS, Andre 3000, Too $hort, and now David Guetta, making a Madonna comparison all too relevant. Kelis still has the trump card held close to her heart though, and I think she’s still yet to play it.

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