Live: Kelis Mixes Bossy And Bass-y At Santos' Party House

Kelis Santos' Party House Wednesday, April 21

Last night's show at Santos proved that Kelis is back and, surprisingly, stronger than ever. After a few years of silence (not so far as the gossip blogs were concerned, of course), the raspy-voiced starlet's "Acapella"--a dance collaboration with David Guetta - dropped this winter, soliciting a resounding WTF from followers expecting something a little more "Bossy" and a little less bass-y. Whatever: If Kelly Rowland can do it, why not Kelis?

Around 9 p.m., with a sellout officially announced, the waiting game began. Mad Decent's resident vixen, Maluca, powered through her set of cumbia-influenced dance raps; LA's DJ Skeet Skeet held the crowd over with a mix of club bangers. Finally, around 11, a screen pulled over the stage flashed images from the "Acapella" music video: a glittery-masked Kelis, a beating heart, crashing waves. If she actually said anything upon walking onstage, we couldn't hear it over the shrieking of the crowd clamoring to get closer. A glowing neon microphone stand in hand, the diva certainly didn't look like a new mom: She gleamed in a white-lace bodysuit (painted on, from the looks of it), a matching fringed cape, and a sequined headpiece.

The familiar beat to "Millionaire" opened her set, guaranteeing that this wouldn't be a hurried three-song promo appearance. "I'm not here just for your enjoyment," she assured us. "I'm going to enjoy myself, too." The crowd screamed Andre 3000's verse as a beaming Kelis looked on, slightly taken aback by the enthusiasm. Really though, the diva's hour-long set just went to prove that, if nothing else, she knew her fan base. DJ Rashida was on the turntables; together, the duo masterfully guided the crowd through both old favorites and new (read: mostly unknown) tunes, the whole thing subconsciously insisting, "DJs, you can play my new songs! Fans, you can like my new songs!" A house remix of "Bossy" led into her probable next single, "22nd Century," off the upcoming Flesh Tones; a verse of "Trick Me" ran straight into a mash-up of "Milkshake," Major Lazer's "Pon de Floor," and Madonna's "Holiday." The grand finale was, of course, "Acapella," glittery red confetti raining down from the ceiling.

Ten minutes of screaming from the audience and a costume change (red leather skirt, corset, golden Egyptian headdress) later, an encore of "Get Along With You" officially ended the night. The exhausted singer gave one last shout-out to her hometown and bid us farewell: "Thanks for this. I never thought I'd last this long!"


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