Lady Sovereign – [Live]

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Twenty-three year old U.K. grimer Lady Sovereign, S-O-V, Louise Amanda Harman or whatever you'd like to call her, is pretty new to the American scene as she only broke ground a few years ago with Jay-Z's Def Jam backing her Public Warning album up. Her single "Love Me or Hate Me," featuring Missy Elliott, received good airtime and became the opening theme song to Oxygen network's reality show "Bad Girls Club." Now, she's back under her own independent record label, Midget Records, with a much more loveable delivery.

Grime is a fairly new British genre that us Americans would compare to a hip-hop sound with an underlying electro beat mixed with fast English accented rhymes. Electro-hop if you will. Sov is the first white female of this scene to make herself noticeable in the States. Maybe it's her cheeky, tell-it-like-it-is personality that we find adorable. Or it could be the quirky lyrics that find us singing along. Either way, she knows how to grab that attention and run with it.

After performances by Chester French and Hollywood Holt, Sov's new DJ; Chicago native, DJ Annalyze, put on a set of old school faves that kept the lively crowd pleased with nostalgic Salt N' Pepper and such tunes. Her fresh twist on old hits gave way to a good beginning.

The stage consisted purely of a lavish drum set with DJ equipment, and when Sov hit the stage, her presence was a lot larger than her petite 5'1” appearance. She wore a red "Married to the Mob" hoodie, baggy pants, and managed to make a tilted baseball hat and winter monkey snowcap combine together to create some kind of fugly fashion statement. I get it. She doesn't want to be "pretty” per se, spunky would be right. But don't compare her to Sporty Spice, she hates that.

She got started with "Let's Be Mates" off her new album Jigsaw, which is a catchy song, but she must have had three Red Bulls before the show as she was bouncing around, back and forth, letting the crowd call and respond to her "I'm weird, you're weird—let's be mates" lyrics. DJ Annalyze scratched throughout the song and quickly transitioned it to the club hit "Satisfaction," which was unexpected.

"I Got You Dancing" was an interesting one as her accent really flared up and made it all that more appealing. Think Streets meets M.I.A. But with her jam-packed lyrics, it was hard to hold on to every word clearly. She gave some love to the crowd as she exclaimed, "I fucking love Chicago… best place in America." Aww. Thanks. We like us too.

With a bit of a snarl, Lady performed "Random," which turned into a bit of a dance party. She shook/sprayed a full water bottle over the crowd then proceeded to pick up a random cranberry-vodka-looking concoction by the DJ. "Ahh, what is this crap?" Sov said as she walked around the stage. She finally found her precious Heineken, chugged it, did a weird crip-step dance to only pour the Heine over the crowd. Mark Ziemke, editor of GC, and his nice camera received a good splash from her as he was in the photo pit during the time.
"Pennies" started with a fun intro "Yeah, Fothermuckers. It's Lady Sovereign." I'm all for new swear words, but her jerked moves and animated facial expressions during the song were borderline wacky. She grabbed a fan's Lady Sov T-shirt that he held up out of the crowd, and wiped it under her armpits, over her chest and down her butt before she returned it to him. Cute.

After she covered Metro Station's "Shake It" with alarming accuracy, she continued with "Jigsaw" which is one of a few songs she uses a slight singing voice in. And it's not bad. Clever lyrics and a smooth composition make it very listenable. Next was her second single off of Jigsaw, "So Human," that borrows the same melody of The Cure's "Close To Me." It worked out ok, but I know some Cure fans that wouldn’t prefer it.

Sov takes a break and tells everyone she's hot (in temperature) then takes off her shirt, to uncover a plain white T. We are all reminded that she is still just a girl when she said, "I need a brush," as she combed through her hair with her fingers. "Please? Anyone? No?" Luckily, someone lends out a comb to brush her pink highlighted hair (her promo staff gave out Lady Sov labeled combs to the crowd during the show, along with stickers and button pins; coincidence?).

Now that her hair was untangled, she went on to "Bang Bang" and continued with her silly behavior. She pushed up her bra and checked her armpits for any stench. She then performed "Love Me or Hate Me," which reminded me of a bad reality show for some reason. But the crowd loved it and she poured one last water bottle over them as she flicked them off, walking off stage. She is so adorable.

Still with the mic in her hand, she creepily added; "The more you scream and shout, the more we'll come back out…” For the encore, fans chanted "S-O-V" repeatedly until she came back to do "Student Union" and "Public Warning."

Lady Sov's personality was louder than her rhymes as she proved on Metro's stage. Many critics don't give her credit because she looks like she's making this all a big joke. She had one bad show in May 2007, where after she performed two songs, she told the Brooklyn, NY, crowd that she was broke and depressed before she ran off stage. But she's no Joaquin Phoenix. Behind her snarl and cheeky mannerisms, she has talent that deserves attention.

She’s like an eager five-year-old child wanting to show you her new trick. She wrote on her twitter page (@ladysov) at 4am the night of the show: “torn down chicago …!!” That doesn’t even make sense and I still like it. I mean, I was first resistant to her contemptuous antics and mocking nature, but then she had me at "fothermuckers."


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