She’s got greasy hair, blue lips and a potty mouth. She’s also, by her own account, often hung over, bad-mannered and promiscuous. And she doesn’t care what you think.
At first glance, Kesha Sebert, 24 — better known by her stage name Ke$ha — looks like she just woke up in a garbage can. Her Sunday show at the nearly sold-out Patriot Center — the latest stop on her seven-month Get $leazy tour celebrating her latest album, “Cannibal” — was no exception.
True to its title, the concert was an assaulting tribute to partying and debauchery. The stage resembled a junkyard rave, a smoky jungle-gym of platforms, ladders and light-up beams. In the crowd: A sea of glittery teenage girls in racy costumes and frightening makeup.
Rioting about the stage were Ke$ha and her dancers, who looked as if they had risen from the dead. Mohawks met feathered headdresses. Zombie makeup accompanied DayGlo body paint. Disheveled ensembles consisted of mesh leotards, ripped fishnet stockings, leather chaps and sequined bustiers. Weave in the provocative choreography, glitter-shooting cannons and spewing beer bottles and you have Ke$ha’s world, where one must work hard, play harder and keep one middle finger to the sky.
And she does work hard. With unfaltering energy, Ke$ha sass-rapped through all of her signature hits, including “We R Who We R,” “Blow” and the catchy party anthem “Tik Tok.”
She also played the role of blazing man-hater. She screamed “I eat men!” during “Cannibal,” drank fake blood out of a male dancer’s prop heart and quickly launched into “Blah Blah Blah,” a song about a guy she liked until she realized he’d rather talk than get physical. Reversing stereotypical gender roles, she objectifies men and abhors those interested in anything more than casual sex.
Despite her efforts to hide it, there seems to be a singer behind all that sleaze. Perhaps the most startling moment of the evening featured the lone Ke$ha onstage, when for two slow ballads, “Animal” and “The Harold Song,” she offered a fleeting glimpse at her under-utilized vocal talent. Add songwriting to her bag of tricks, too: Few know that she penned Britney Spears’s current hit, “Till the World Ends.”
The fact that it’s hard to put Ke$ha in a box only makes her more interesting. Though often lumped in with Lady Gaga and Katy Perry, the electro-pop anti-princess has more in common with hair bands like Whitesnake and Alice Cooper, who share her rebel-without-a-cause attitude. While Gaga plays a vainglorious game of awards shows and haute couture and Perry kisses girls on the playground, Ke$ha operates in a more carefree cycle of bottle service, forgettable guys and mornings after.
Ke$ha’s no girl next door. But her refusal to take herself seriously is refreshing and even a little endearing. She may be rough around the edges, but boring, she’s not.