A show that falls in the middle of the week is a tough gig in the first place, but add in the wrong size venue and you've got a set up for an unmemorable performance. Such was the bad luck of Lady Sovereign, the cheeky British rapper who exploded on the scene a few years back with a slew of radio friendly pop-rap gems.
The show was originally scheduled a few weeks back at The Empty Bottle, but due to visa issues the date and venue was changed. This was the first red flag upon entering Logan Square Auditorium last Wednesday night, when a crowd that would have seemed pleasantly packed at The Empty Bottle came off as sparse and awkward. My friend put it best when she stated "it feels like we've crawled out our bedroom window to go clubbing on a school night."
Lady SOV bounded onto the stage looking energized, excited, and sober, a far cry (thankfully) from her sloppy set at the Metro a few years back. She launched into her new single "I've Got You Dancing," a dirty infectious grind, and the crowd (70% hipster type, 30% lesbians with a rabid Lady Sovereign obsession) started to move a bit and sing along. The new stuff she debuted sounded catchy and worthy of another listen, but clearly staples like "Love Me or Hate Me" and "Random" went over the best, garnering crowd chants of "SOV" and having some of the stiffest looking skinny jean wearing kids dancing along.
Yet sadly just as the fun was getting started and Sovereign was starting to get into a nice groove, the show suddenly ended. With a set of only about 7 or 8 songs, the self proclaimed "biggest midget in the game" fizzled with one of the shortest shows I've been to in a long time. If you fly all the way across an ocean to play, go all out! Lady Sovereign maybe adorable and cheeky and impressive rapper, but that's no excuse for having a short and overall lazy set.
As the lights went up, my friend questioned "is that it?" Yes, that was it. Lady Sovereign was mingling with fans and taking pictures with everyone, a nice touch, but as we left Logan Square much earlier than expected, we felt a sadness of being let down. The music we so enjoyed a few summers ago had lost its luster and fun, and somehow just made us feel old.
Maybe it was the weather, because poppy British hip hop is best consumed in the warmer months. I'd put a good bet that if the show was kept at The Empty Bottle, a smaller and more inviting venue, it would have been a better show overall. But travel and legal issues always arise and you have to roll with the punches. Overall the show just seemed out of place and off. Here's hoping Lady Sovereign rolls back into town later this year, plays a better suited venue, and Chicago will be able to show her a proper time.