Lady Sovereign Commands Enamored Crowd at Tribeca Grand

Nell Alk

Considering Saturday night’s lineup, it’s surprising the Tribeca Grand didn’t draw a more menacing crowd. Fortunately, Easter and Passover probably helped keep the GBH list at a reasonable level. That's not to say the hotel lobby wasn’t teeming with people, but, unlike Peaches’ DJ set a few weeks back, Lady Sovereign’s record release show was significantly less intense. And less sweaty. Coat check was a breeze, restroom lines were nearly nonexistent and one needn’t have fought tooth and nail to arrive stage-side. At least I didn’t get into any scrapes along the way.

Lady Sov bounded onstage around 12:30 a.m. Dressed in her signature Stussy cap (kicked, covering her half purple locks), white-rimmed sunglasses, a royal blue Adidas windbreaker, a bright lavender Kidrobot tee, grey skinny jeans, silver sneakers and a ghetto-fabulous gold chain, this miniature Sporty Spice (the real deal, with sex appeal) reigned supreme for a mini-set consisting of six songs. She rocked something new too, a tattoo her manager Zak tells me she had done a few hours before showtime. It’s located on her right wrist, a digital clock with the time permanently locked in at the palindrome 11:11, what some consider the wishing hour.

Sov opened with “Let’s Be Mates,” a number from her second full-length, Jigsaw, which dropped last Tuesday in the U.S. The album was met with mixed reviews, leaning more towards negative, but this artist’s got a winning attitude; in an interview with the little lady last Friday she said to me, “I’ve read some reviews. I kind of Google myself everyday now. Some things have been pretty harsh towards me, but whatever. I’m kind of over reading bad reviews.” Right on, Sov.

Next up she performed a now well-known dance track from Jigsaw, “I Got You Dancing.” The lyrics don’t lie; guests got down to this song as Sov sang her heart out and DJ Annalyze manned the music. Next up was an old favorite, from her side ponytail days, “Love Me or Hate Me,” a badass anthem off her debut disc, Public Warning. The crowd went wild. For those who may not yet have had a chance to cop her recent record, this granted unfamiliar fans a chance to sing along. Following this, Sov let loose with a new track, the ever-catchy “Bang Bang.” Characterized by ample repetition (“Oi, oi, oi!”) and electric guitar riffs punctuated throughout, Sov paced the stage and served this one up piping hot.

Speaking of piping hot, I was hoping to hear her goofy “Food Play,” but, alas, she skipped it and instead busted out her cheeky take on The Cure’s “Close to Me” sample: “So Human.” The audience ate it up.

Back to our interview: “I think a lot of people dismiss me before they’ve even had a chance to see me live, and that’s where people go wrong. ’Cause me as a performer, I’m fucking amazing. I give it my all. I say what I need to say. I completely go for it.” I couldn’t agree more and, while Jigsaw isn’t exactly on the fast path to album of the year, I’ll be damned if shorty doesn’t bring it when she gets on the mic.

Sov rounded it out with the choppy, punchy and aggressive “Public Warning,” a rap ballad plucked from, you guessed it, Public Warning. After shutting shit down, flogging her guts out till roughly 1:30 (“Fuck Perez!” she earlier shouted in regards to the “Queen of Media”’s shameful display at SXSW), Ladytron and The Faint were scheduled to guest DJ. I have to admit, after dancing my ass off and lip-synching Lady Sov hip-hop style, not to mention downing a few too many vodka crans, I had to bail. I tried to keep it together but, after half an hour waiting around and seeing not so much as a turntable, this kid had to hit the sack. I was just stoked to see her three times in one weekend, jump-starting her stay in New York by attending PAPER's Beautiful People Party at Hiro Ballroom Thursday night. What’s up next for this punky Londoner? Touring North America for the month of May. She’ll be back in our neck of the woods again May 5th performing at Highline Ballroom and May 6th performing at the Music Hall of Williamsburg. Get ready, people. This midget’s ’bout to bring it.

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