Katy Perry

The ZZZZZZZ factor. Monto Water Rats, London (September 10)

Predictably, sections of the liberal media are miffed that she’s been allowed to a) have a Number One single that panders to the oldest male fantasy in the book (‘I Kissed A Girl’) and b) release a song that uses the word “gay” in the playground put-down sense (‘UR So Gay’). Unsurprisingly, the smattering of indie types who’ve made it in are moaning about how there’s a tourbus outside that’s bigger than the entire venue, about how it’s insulting to bands like The Shitfuckers (or whichever bunch of losers are playing here tomorrow) that an American popstar is playing here as some kind of ‘keeping it real’ vanity project. Depressingly, both times I go to the toilet this evening, there are two sweaty 40-something record company oafs smirking to each other about “what they wouldn’t do to her” or whatever.

Boringly, though, the gig itself is just… well, really, really, really fucking boring. Katy Perry comes on, her band are good in that anonymous, IKEA sort of way, she plays guitar, she looks great (sorry, hawt), she sings good, nothing goes wrong; she, y’know, “works the crowd”, finishes with ‘I Kissed A Girl’ (which, of course, is miles better than anything else on her album ‘One Of The Boys’). In-between, we get the likes of ‘If You Can Afford Me’ (about making sure you’re treated right and that), the ludicrously bland drivetime rawk of ‘Waking Up In Vegas’ (“Shut up and put your money where your mouth is!/That’s what you get for waking up in Vegas!”) and a couple of mawkish power ballads about love. Katy Perry then leaves, safe in the knowledge that in two weeks’ time she’ll be at the just-down-the-road, sold-out Scala (and, if all goes to plan, the far more suitable surroundings of the O2 Arena in about a year). She’ll be able in future interviews to reminisce about the time she played a grotty little pub in north London. Which she did. But it’s not fun, annoying, controversial, sexy, crap, good for dancing to… not anything. It’s wallpaper. Beige wallpaper. Oh yes, people, I was there the first time beige wallpaper played London…

Hamish MacBain