Live. Iggy Azalea

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Live. Iggy Azalea
17th September 2014. Shepherd’s Bush Empire

Iggy Azalea has carved out a weird niche for herself. Her music lays at the grittier end of the pop scale, while the hip-hop world questions her Hollywood sheen. When it works, it’s exhilarating. When the ratios are off though, the rough cinema falls down. Tonight amidst real life scandals, Iggy Azalea plays a one off headline show at London’s Shepherd Bush Empire. A stumble over a spotlight during the first song is indicative of how tonight pans out.

An over reliance on backing tracks and with her vocals far too low in the mix, for a majority of the show Iggy is just another dancer, prancing about on the staggered stage to harsh electro twists and grinds. The likes of ‘Pu$$y’, ‘Drop That’ and ‘My World” are muted callbacks to a time where Iggy Azalea wasn’t a bona fide pop star and amongst confetti, streamers and dry ice filled bubbles, all that jagged edge has been ground down. The response is just as muted from the crowd, with Iggy’s use of her body getting a bigger cheer than her flow. A matter not helped when, explicably, a pole is wheeled onto the stage and the backing dancers do their thing. Maybe it’s meant to be subversive, a clawing take back of the female form, but if it had a message, it was lost in translation. Instead it, coupled with the rough demands of the male DJ Wizz Kid, made the performance feel cheap.

The likes of ‘Change Your Life’, ‘Problem’ and ‘Fancy’ gift Iggy the opportunity to move away from the confides of the backing track, and the difference is astounding. Unrestrained, she sounds incredible and for a few glittering moments, Iggy looks and sounds like she can take on the world. It’s all too brief though, as she retreats to the safety of vocal layers.

A guest appearance from Rita Ora for ‘Black Widow’ again quickens the pace and intensity of the show, giving both women the perfect chance to show off their talents. A knowing grin and an endearing cry of ‘Hello London’, within thirty seconds Rita creates more of a connection with the room than Iggy manages all evening.

A jubilant, venomous finale of Work is a harsh reminder of just how far Iggy Azalea has come. You can’t deny she’s moved forward, but in doing so, she’s left that fiery conviction behind. An impromptu encore of two new songs, ‘Cheeks’ and ‘Beg For It’, the latter featuring a Charli XCX hook, is messy and without ceremony. Sitting down in near darkness, Iggy Azalea looks lost and confused and for the first time, crowd and artist are on the same page.

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~ by justdip on 21/09/2014.

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