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Wednesday June 29th

Review: Kesha takes the stage and unapologetically lives her truth

Kesha performed at the Ritz Raleigh Monday night.
Buy Photos Kesha performed at the Ritz Raleigh Monday night.

If you’re looking for a show where they go hardcore and there’s glitter on the floor — Kesha’s "Rainbow Tour 2017” is the destination. The pop-rock artist performed to a sold-out crowd at The Ritz Raleigh Monday night. 

The tour is in support of her recently released album, “Rainbow.” The collection of tracks — which marked a departure from electro-pop and moved into country-rock territory — made up the majority of the set list. 

Kesha fans (referred to as Animals) waited outside the venue for hours in anticipation for the singer. They came out decked in rainbow colors, but the biggest dress code rule of the night was glitter.  

After the hordes of Animals settled into the venue, Reigning Sound, a garage rock band that Kesha has been listening to since she was 15-years-old, kicked off the night as her opening act. 

Most of the crowd didn’t know who the band was, but that didn’t stop them from jamming out. It didn’t last very long, however.

After one too many of their “hits,” their songs began to blend into one never-ending song. Additionally, the lead singer’s voice could barely be heard. Maybe because the crowd was too busy talking to be bothered by the band’s lackluster performance. 

Reigning Sound showed no sign of stopping anytime soon as their performance began approaching an hour, but a Ritz employee entered the stage to notify them that it was time to go. Like that, the band was gone, to the crowd’s delight.

Thirty minutes later, the lights began to dim and the backing band entered the stage. The crowd began chanting “Kesha” in unison. 

When she strutted in a Western-style pantsuit from the right side of the stage, she brought with her an aura of positive energy that revived the crowd after the opening act.

Kesha kicked off the night with “Woman,” a female empowerment anthem. During the song, she declared herself as independent, “motherfucking woman,” singing, “Don't buy me a drink, I make my money, don't touch my weave, don't call me honey, 'cause I run my shit, baby.”

She got the crowd dancing during “Boogie Feet,” backed by two male dancers moving in sync with her. She urged her Animals to stop “living in resentment, (and) choose redemption” on her track, “Learn to Let Go.” 

Before launching into “Hymn,” a song she said was dedicated to anyone who never felt like they had a song, she thanked her fans. 

“You’ve been there for me during, hands down, the most difficult time in my entire life,” Kesha said. “I don’t know what I did in my past life to deserve y’all in this life, but thank you. This record wouldn’t exist — actually I know for a fact it would not exist without my fans.”

After playing several songs off her new album, Kesha took it back to the classics — and that included taking it all off.

She began to tease the crowd by taking off her bolo tie and her jacket. She unbuttoned her shirt to reveal another layer underneath this new country exterior — she’s still the party girl from 2009. 

She used the tease as a starting point for a performance of “Take It Off,” one of her first hits. During the bridge, she told everyone to raise their middle finger up in the air. 

After, she jumped right into “We R Who We R,” an anthem about living life without apology. The audience went chaotic, jumping up and down and screaming every single lyric of the two songs. 

With the crowd hyped, she left the stage to change into her second outfit of the night — a feathery white dress, tan cowboy hat and boots.

She performed a few more songs from “Rainbow,” such as “Spaceship,” “Hunt You Down” and “Godzilla,” before singing a few more classics, like “Your Love is My Drug” and “Blow.”

During “Blow,” she sang, “Go insane, throw some glitter, make it rain on 'em,” before she threw two cups of glitter into the crowd. On top of that, her dancers shot confetti, causing the chaos to continue. 

Before supposedly ending the night, Kesha performed “Praying,” the cathartic lead single from “Rainbow.” 

“Before I sing our pretend last song, I just want to say thank you for all the support we’ve gotten,” Kesha said. “This song in particular, this is a very emotional song. Usually when you put out a new record, they don’t want you to put out a slow song first, but I had to tell this story first.”

The night didn’t end there as she came back on stage — in a party blouse and jean shorts — for an encore, which included her debut single, “TiK ToK,” and “Rainbow” cut, “Bastards.”

Kesha’s performance didn’t disappoint as she connected to the audience on a spiritual level. She hyped the audience with her positive energy, and her vocals were stronger than ever, no longer silenced by auto-tune. 

She may have left behind the party-girl image, but she’s in a much better place — a place of peace with herself and her Animals.

@adamphan_

arts@dailytarheel.com

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