Kesha lights up the Electric Brixton – review 

Kesha in concert at Electric Brixton on November 14th Credit: REX/Shutterstock

During Kesha’s remarkable return to London this week, she took a break from flinging herself jubillantly around the stage and got serious. “Thank you for being with me through the ups and downs,” she said. “Y’all know what I’ve been going through.” But even someone who knew nothing at all about Kesha Rose Sebert would have felt the goosebump-inducing intensity of the singer’s intimate, sold-out show.

It’s been more than four years since the pop artist once known as Ke$ha played live in the UK, the result of some well-publicised legal rows with her producer, Dr Luke. Three months ago, she released a Dr Luke-free album, Rainbow. A departure from the chart-bothering pure pop she was once known for, it showcased a bold musician stretching her wings, zipping from rockabilly to country with a set of pipes to be reckoned with – this week’s wild, euphoric set picked up where Rainbow left off.  

Credit: Steve Gillett/Livepix

With full band and all the glitter London had to offer, it wasn’t so much a pop show as a full-bodied rock’n’roll spectacle. Kesha strutted on stage like a preacher, arms aloft and feeding off the crowd’s fervour, beckoning for more. “We f---in’ did it!” she called triumphantly, before launching into Woman, whose battle-cry chorus was accompanied by a room full of middle fingers held up. Her frequent howls and screams reminded us that this long-awaited catharsis came from real pain – Learn To Let Go’s verses shook with rage while she seemed to float serenely through choruses. 

The few older songs she played were reclaimed as rootin-tootin hoe-downs (Timber) and rallying cries for weirdos and misfits (We R Who We R). Only breakout hit, Tik Tok, stuck out as a favour to fans. During Godzilla, for which the singer was joined by her mum, fans doused in glitter held up signs reading “Kesha, you’re a rainbow” causing her to get tearful and miss a verse.

Anger, catharsis, pain, joy and redemption coalesced in the breathtaking Praying, “an emotional motherf----- of a song” that Kesha seemed to physically steel herself to sing. Draped in a glittering cape, her hands frequently found themselves in the prayer position like the patron saint of survivors. Eyes shut, she put every painful second of the last few years into the final chorus, barely able to speak when she was done. Her fans love Kesha fiercely and unconditionally – as, after seeing that performance, anyone would.