Concert Review: Iggy Azalea

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To preface, know that Iggy Azalea is not immediately appealing to most people, or so I suspect.  Her Australian roots have blended with a rap career developed in the U.S. south to produce an Aussie twang with a Southern drawl.  That comes across in her music as somewhat off-putting to many listeners.  Her chimeric accent was, however, what immediately attracted me to her.  It was something unusual to me, and I found that she used it to get away with some heavily slanted rhymes with intriguing results.  Thus, I followed her from her first E.P. to her recently released album, The New Classic (see Connor Small’s review here), and was excited to see her perform at Theater of the Living Arts in Philadelphia.  Despite my disappointment with the just decent debut album, she put on a good show that reaffirmed my notion of her as a novelty that is simply fun to listen to. Prior to the concert, I wondered who would be there; who are her fans?  Until the recent popularity of her song “Fancy” she was not a high profile name and did not fit any musical milieu, even with her connections to Southern rapper, T.I.  It seems that her fans, like Iggy herself, cannot be categorized.  The crowd was a strange and unpredictable hodgepodge of ages and personalities, united by a desire to dance.

And dance they did.  D.J. Whiz Kid opened, playing a medley of lightly remixed pop songs in the vein of Gaga, Beyoncé, and Katy Perry.  Fun for sure, but no different than what you would hear at a house party.  Presumably new to the music scene, D.J. Whiz Kid does not even have a website yet.  According to his Twitter, he is the official D.J. of Iggy Azalea.  Other than that, I could find no information on him. He tweeted with audience members throughout the show which was endearing, and he successfully hyped the crowd for the main act.

Iggy Azalea has a side job as a model.  Thus, her arrival on stage produced a strange air that was like a Victoria’s Secret fashion show with rapping.  Yes, weirdness pervaded the evening.  She had backup dancers who doubled as singers to support the more melodic hooks in her songs.  Other than that and her rapping, D.J. Whiz Kid provided all of the sound, so it was a small production.  She is a fierce rapper, conveying a sense of power despite her dainty elegance, and there was never a shortage of energy; stage presence gets an A.  Her verses came through clearly, even over the relentless screaming of the crowd.  On a scale of Bon Iver to One Direction fans, the screaming level was about a Miley Cyrus, post-Disney.  On that, although Iggy was not as hyper-sexed as new Miley, the show was fairly explicit, complete with pole dancing and a wardrobe change from a one-piece bathing suit, to a two-piece for her song “Pu$$y”.

A crowd favorite was “Murda Bizness”, which gave us the humorous and satirical music video linked below.  That, and of course “Fancy” had everyone rapping along.  I was impressed with how well everyone knew the lyrics.  Her fans are considerably devoted.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RzI9VQUHJkU&feature=kp

 

Regrettably, T.I. did not show up for his verse in “Murda Bizness”, but Iggy is on her own now and does not need him.  She is definitely straddling genres, rapping over pop beats with singable choruses and hooks while using choreography to add to the spectacle. People say she can’t rap, but I heard otherwise; hers is just an unusual instrument. Her music does tend to be very superficial despite her unusual vitae, which has been a major criticism of her debut album.  Still, if there is value in fun then there is value in her music as it is simple but fun.

(Image source:  Wikimedia)