Monday, June 24, 2013
Concert review: Ke$ha served up annoying trash-pop at Dallas’ Gexa Energy Pavilion
Pitbull, on the other hand, was likeable and real.
Pitbull is inescapable – and that’s OK.
We live in a pop music world where the over-saturation of multi-branding quickly turns many radio sensations into ubiquitous pests. You can’t get away from them. They’re all over the dial, the TV set, the magazines, and splattered in every corner of the internet.
But the Cuban-American rapper born Armando Pérez in Miami worked hard for his current position as one of the most sought after rhymers in the business. He’s come a long way since his 2004 national debut album, M.I.A.M.I. He strategically remade himself as a stylish dance floor rapper with the release of 2009′s Rebelution, which includes his breakthrough hit “I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho).” He carved an image – tailored suits, dark sunglasses, and little to no bling – that clicked with his no-nonsense, soul party personality.
Pitbull headlined his co-billing tour with trashy-pop singer Ke$ha Sunday night at Gexa Energy Pavilion. He brought with him a seven-piece band, including a percussionist and four female dancers. His show was total focused energy. Pitbull commanded the stage, delivering one recognizable song after the other. His rapping flow, a rapid-fire, amplified shower of rhymes, matched his unbridled enthusiasm. This guy danced, gyrated, and covered just about every angle of the platform. There was no hip-hop posturing. He was on.
It’s during a 90-minute show attended by 14,000 people that you get the full effect of Pitbull’s marketability. The huge video screens behind him told the tale. When he did “International Love,” Chris Brown was on the montage. For “Live It Up” and “Dance Again” it was Jennifer Lopez. When he launched into “Get It Started,” we got Shakira. “Rain on Me” gave us Marc Anthony. “Back In Time” brought Will Smith. Even the Beastie Boys, in vintage video clip footage of “(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party!),” served as an introduction for Pit’s “Don’t Stop the Party.”
He embraced his Cuban heritage – yeah, the dude can dance salsa! – during “Echa Pa’lla (Manos Pa’rriba).” The percussionist was egging him on so Pitbull had the hips going gangbusters. That moment, and when he genuinely thanked the crowd for all the support through the years, proved that Pitbull is likeable and real. He’s not part of the hip-hop manufacturing plant. He’s his own man.
Ke$ha, on the other hand, is a product of the same tarty female pop singer machine that gave us Rihanna, Katy Perry, Britney Spears, and their ilk. Truly she has to be the most obnoxious female pop singer of the day. Her hour-long set was circus central, featuring a parade of male dancers in drag, male dancers in glitter, inflatable props, cagey scaffolding, a toy car, streamers, confetti, even a shower of dollar bills. Well, at least they looked like dollar bills.
None of it could disguise the utter annoyance of her electro-thump-thump staples “Take It Off,” “Your Love Is My Drug,” “Blah Blah Blah,” among others. Her music, not to mention her performance, was total throwaway. Aren’t her 15 minutes up yet?
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