Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Revoluton, Fort Lauderdale
Katy Perry is annoying. There's no getting around it. I went to her sold-out show at Revolution Wednesday night with an open mind. I swear. I like "Hot N Cold." Despite the song's frustratingly sexist lyric criticizing a dude for changing his mind like a "girl changes clothes," I can dig it. It's catchy.
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I walked in the club just in time to find a spot at the bar and watch the crowd erupt as Perry -- dressed in a knee-length, red-sequined vintage throwback complete with shoulder pads and a giant black belt -- began the aforementioned dance-pop nugget. She's a good singer. She is chirpy, bounce-off-the-walls enthusiastic, and she knows her audience - sorority girls, tweens, their parents -- and engages them as a good frontwoman should. The singles off her 2008 album One of the Boys are easy to memorize and, after a few vodka tonics, inspire more than a foot tap.
But no matter how entertaining it is to see a budding pop star bounce on stage with reckless abandon or how endearing it is to see her talk with her tween army of Chapstick-toting fashionistas, her antics and mediocre comedy get old quick. She says "fuck" a lot, and does it in the same way an overcompensating teenager would to get attention. At first I overlooked it, assuming she was just playing to her audience. Tweens, after all, probably don't hear the word too often, and that seems provocative enough for such a crowd. But then she yelled bizarre South Park-worthy statements like "this goes out to all the girls who aren't sluts!"
And here lies the problem with Katy Perry. She fails to distinguish between being bawdy and subversive. Creating songs like "Ur So Gay" and "I Kissed a Girl" is just another attention-grabbing way to say "fuck." Not "Fuck You" or "Fuck the World" or "Go Fuck Yourself" a la Courtney Love. Perry's quirky-girl spunk is instead woefully contrived, from the giant inflatable fruit on stage to the cat ears she donned near the end of the show. (Her love of cats extends to her band merchandise. You can buy shirts that say "Hello Katy.")
As she closed with "I Kissed a Girl," I went to the back of the club to beat the mob as well as to avoid projectile Chapsticks being thrown at the stage. I stopped by the merchandise stand where a father looked a little surprised to see underwear with "One of the Boys" written across the rear and shirts stating "Cuz Ur So Gay" and "Katy Slept Here." His kids, a boy and girl both no older than 8, pointed to what they wanted. The girl chose one of the tamer T-shirts with tour dates on the back. The boy chose "Katy Slept Here." I laughed at how disturbing the father's predicament was. But then I thought, at least the shirt doesn't say the Pussy Cat Dolls.