Screenshots of Kesha performing in Nashville via Facebook
Kesha is one of America's greatest musical treasures, and she is being kept from us. I'm not trolling. I will concede that the artist, who introduced herself to the world with the immortal lyrics "wake up in the morning feeling like P. Diddy," did not necessarily make the best first impression. And yet. Kesha has made two and a half virtually flawless pop albums, projects that, if they were released in today's pop-friendly climes, everyone would be falling over each other to praise, projects that more or less paved the way for Miley Cyrus and Katy Perry's respective rises to oddball hippy and patron of the Left Shark, as well as much of the general sound of pop music over the last few years.
Her philosophy, before it was cool, has always been one of radical acceptance, particularly with regard to gender and sexuality. When I saw Kesha perform in 2011, a gay teenager in the crowd brought the entire room to tears talking about how her message and music had saved his life. I can say, unreservedly, that that show was one of—if not the most—positive concerts I've ever been to. But, hey, I get it, Kesha makes smash hit pop songs, many of them about partying, and, even though you're wrong, you may never be sold on her musically.
Fine. At least have some sympathy for her plight: In 2014, she filed a lawsuit of sexual, physical, and mental abuse against longtime collaborator Dr. Luke (the producer behind a ton of the biggest pop hits of the past decade, including Kesha's catalog). Dr. Luke counter-sued for defamation and breach of contract, claiming he was being extorted. Kesha later expanded her suit to include her label, Sony, allaging that they were helping to cover up Dr. Luke's abuse. As part of the ongoing legal situation, Kesha has been barred from touring, recording, and marketing merchandise, even as Dr. Luke continues to work as normal. Yes, that's pretty fucked up! And potentially the end of Kesha's career unless it can be resolved.
So what does Kesha do? Well, about a week ago, on Wednesday, December 23, she threw a surprise show at the Springwater Lounge in Nashville with her band, Yeast Infection. And, on Christmas, she posted a video of the performance, featuring the songs "Blow" and "Timber," on Facebook, noting, "Don't worry NO ONE will ever shut me up."
Now, once again, maybe you'd assume that two pop smashes, including a collaboration with Pitbull, would be fertile ground for anything cool or badass. Fair enough, with all apologies to Mr. Worldwide. Maybe even once you saw Kesha onstage in a Beavis and Butthead shirt seemingly channeling Courtney Love with a band of dudes in the sort of costumes that "hipsters" wear in your craziest Portlandia imaginations you might be prone to cynicism. Reasonable.
But listen to the way Kesha leans into "Blow" and screams her lungs out, watch her get lost in the thrashing of the music and, with "Timber," winkingly acknowledge that, yes, she is Kesha, before embracing the feel-good vibes and wading into the crowd. Then tell me that you're not impressed, that throwing not just a show but this show in defiance of that whole messy, gross situation isn't punk as fuck.
HAPPY HOLLERDAYZ from Y E A S T I N F E C T I O N!!! I love all of my ANIMALS!!! Thanks for all of the support this year!!!....Don't worry NO ONE will ever shut me up.Posted by Kesha on Friday, December 25, 2015
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