A Defiant Kesha Promotes Equality at Sold Out Lakewood Civic Auditorium Concert

They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. That’s certainly true for Kesha, who has a chart-topping album and sold out tour to prove it.

The pop singer played a rousing 90-minute sold out show last night at Lakewood Civic Auditorium.

Three years ago, Kesha sued her former producer for sexual assault that had reportedly taken place over the past decade. A battle with her record label ensued, and the release of her fourth studio album, Rainbow, was delayed. The record finally came out this year, and shot to the top of the charts. A good portion of the songs at last night's concert came from it.

You can see a slideshow of photos from the concert here.

Playing in front of a rainbow-colored backdrop, Kesha started the set with “Woman,” a song that found her shouting, “I’m a mother fuckin’ woman,” much to the delight of the fans. She introduced “Learn to Let Go” as a song she wrote about learning to “let go out of shit” and encouraged her glitter-wearing fans to “really fuck this place up with glitter.”

An ominous sounding low hum kicked off “Hymn,” a somber pop ballad that featuring whirring synths and hiccupping vocals. Kesha introduced it by talking about how she didn’t “fit in” as a youth. She dedicated the song to all the “dreamers” seeking citizenship. “I’m with you,” she yelled.

“Take It Off” benefitted from some snarling guitars, and Kesha even moderated a duel between the two guitarists in her band. While she strapped on an electric guitar for the song, she didn’t engage in the battle, but she did emphatically flick her guitar pick into the audience upon the tune’s conclusion.

She introduced “We R Who We R” by saying she supports equal rights and that her concerts are a “safe place” for anyone and everyone who attends. “Fuck what everyone else thinks,” she said (she regularly dropped the f-bomb throughout the night).

“Spaceship” introduced the country-themed segment of the show, and Kesha changed into a cowboy hat, boots and short white dress. During “Hunt You Down,” she broke the song into its parts, instructing her five-piece band (and two male dancers/back-up singers) on how fast to play each of their parts as she segued into a rousing snippet from the Pitbull tune “Timber” and sang the refrain she sings on the studio version of the tune.

“Blow” featured a brittle guitar riff and Kesha’s signature yodeling-like vocals, and Kesha showed off her vocal range on the set-closing “Praying,” a tune that found her singing under a single white spotlight.

The encore included a raucous rendition of her hip-hop-inflected hit “Tik Tok” and “Bastards,” another defiant anthem from Rainbow that she described as a “fuck you” to anyone who tries to control you. Confetti sprayed into the crowd as the song and the show came to a climactic conclusion.

The co-ed rock quartet Savoy Motel started the show with a 45-minute set that sounded like a rehearsal. The band regularly began songs with meandering jams that made it seem as if the members were searching for the melody or making the tunes up as it went along. The group tightened up by the set’s end, at which point its psychedelic jams sounded more refined, but that didn't redeem the mediocre performance.

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Jeff Niesel

Jeff has been covering the Cleveland music scene for more than 20 years now. And on a regular basis, he tries to talk to whatever big acts are coming through town, too. If you're in a band that he needs to hear, email him at [email protected].
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