Live Review

Iggy Azalea, Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London

17th September 2014

Iggy Azalea – larger than life pop star – succeeds in connecting as well as entertaining.

The ceiling of Shepherds Bush Empire is trembling with fear at the almighty fuss kicking off underneath it. Approximately 2,000 people are housed within its stacked up confines, and every single one is chanting “my anaconda don’t want none unless you got buns hun” with word-perfect gusto. Anticipation is at fever pitch, the air thick with excitement and snapchat alert pings. At this moment in time, by the way, there’s another half an hour to go before Iggy Azalea finally makes a late entrance, strolls onto stage and owns it.

With plenty of overblown video visuals ranging from exploding fire balls to the word ‘pussy’ written in neon pink across the back of the stage – twice – minimalism is clearly not on the agenda tonight. Then again, who on earth in their right mind demands subtlety when it comes to a pop concert? Iggy Azalea’s costume tonight has a kind of ABBA meets Star Trek vibe going on, and she’s backed by a troupe of dancers in geometric leotard thingies. They’ve brought along a portable pole and confetti gun. Shares in confetti have probably increased threefold in value tonight, in fact, because Iggy appears to have brought along half the world’s metallic streamer reserve. There are bubbles filled with dry ice, and there’s even an interlude for a quick screening of the infamous dinner scene from 90s rom-com ‘Boomerang’; the source of the sample at the beginning of ‘Pu$$y’.

Visually, Iggy Azalea has nailed it. This is bold, brash, garish, and totally over the top staging which bombards the retina like water flying from a pistol and knocking over every target in a game of Ducky Splash. The sound is a bit off in comparison, though, and Iggy sounds a bit quiet most of the time. During ‘Drop That’ - from her debut mixtape ‘Ignorant Art’ – everything gets especially tinny. Iggy halts proceedings and sits down on the steps with a huff. “No, no, no,” she husks “not in London”.

Iggy Azalea, Shepherd's Bush Empire, London Iggy Azalea, Shepherd's Bush Empire, London Iggy Azalea, Shepherd's Bush Empire, London Iggy Azalea, Shepherd's Bush Empire, London

The bass returns with more welly after that, and there’s no going back. An almighty ruckus possesses the entire venue as Rita Ora makes a surprise cameo on ‘Black Widow’, singing a few choruses and, additionally, informing us all that Iggy has a “heart of gold”. Charli XCX, meanwhile, is too busy undoubtedly topping her game in Madrid tonight, but ‘Fancy’ is still the storming crowd favourite. “Mmm mm,” Iggy says, delightedly parading the stage as Shepherds Bush sings the whole chorus over the intro. It’s a brilliant moment where Azalea’s flamboyant and OTT pop world meets something that connects completely. This is probably one of the last times Iggy Azalea will play a venue this intimate, so it’s a shame that her reliance on a backing track drags her out of the moment and into verse one just a bit too soon.

Free from the confines of the backing track again, though, that connection seems to return. “I think I could be broke,” announces Iggy, “as long as I have my show.” There’s time for one more, and taking a seat on the steps again, she demands, “you gotta beg for it.” The crowd basically scream loud enough to terrify every elusive sheep sneaking around Shepherd’s Bush out of hiding. At time of writing, Iggy Azalea’s ‘Fancy’ has 271,905,715 views on Youtube. That’s a figure almost impossible to visualise. Tonight, playing to a minuscule number in comparison, Iggy Azalea – larger than life pop star – succeeds in connecting as well as entertaining.

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