So we're at in the control room at KCRW-Santa Monica with Lily Allen, watching her perform and be interviewed by DJ Jason Bentley. This is the first of what will be at least a monthly jaunt down to our favorite radio station--and the only one in L.A. that regularly exposes us to new music since 103.1 went off the air.
We got in late because of traffic so this is a truncated version of what to expect from here on out. But we're here now. Allen has already performed "22," a heartbreaking tune from her new album, "It's Not Me, It's You," which came in at NO. 5 on the Billboard 200 today.
She breaks into the lilting "He Wasn't Around," backed by guitar and piano, it shows off a different side of her voice than we usually hear-it's a jazzy,nice rendition.
11:32: Jason Bentley is now interviewing her-she's charming and friendlier than she was when I talked to her on Monday. (I'll post a link to my AOL interview when it goes live). She and I were plagued by a horrible phone connection, and while she was polite and answered everything I asked, we were, sadly, never able to get a good dialogue going. Bentley brings up her hulking bodyguard. She says it's a bit pointless and giggles. In NY, she had paparazzi following her, but she says there haven't been any problems here.
Good for her- she addresses that she hasn't worked with great producer Mark Ronson- he of Amy Winehouse fame- because she is trying to separateherself from the rest of the Brit "It" girl pack.
Bentley just brought up her Twitter feud with Perez Hilton-not that either one of them names him. She said she's blocked him. "He's funny, I take it with a pinch of salt," she says. I'm sure Hilton appreciated being called "Valdemort" just now. He's been called worse.
She's now singing the soaring "It's Not Fair," about a horrible lover. We'll see if she can get by without editing some of the lyrics. Technically, there are no bad words here, according to the FCC, but it's a pretty explicit song.
She finishes "It't Not Fair," and says "maybe I'll dedicated this one to Mr. Hilton." She then launches into "The Fear," a great social commentary about how fame is the only valuable commodity worth figthing for right now-- that and the right to spend ourselves into credit card debt. She also dedicated that one to Hilton.
Her performance is live on kcrw.com, but will be archived later this afternoon. We'll link to the site as soon as it's back up and we're dedicated to being more organized when we do this next time.
She's now singing "I Could Say." Seeing Allen acoustic is a nice change and it shows that she can sing. Her voice has a nice tone to it. It's not overwhelmingly strong or powerful, but it has a vulnerability that she doesn't often convey through her personality during interviews.
Time for her last song, "Everyone's At It." It's a bit of a serious social statement from her, and it's not what she does best. We prefer the biting, relationship-hating Allen more than the a look at social woes and political commentary.
She's done. It's always great to see an artist stripped down like this. I wish she'd done more of an interview.
The paparazzi may not have been a problem until now, but now they're on campus and they've just called security to safely escort her out.