K.Flay Slays At Electric Brixton

Kristine FlahertyAKA K.Flay – is unapologetically a weirdo. She spins and flails onstage, and at one point lies on her back and cycles her legs, kicking in time to the music. Flay’s weirdness speaks to her fans directly. “How many people consider themselves to be weird, strange, left of centre?” She calls to exultant cheers. “You’ve gotta nurture that shit,” she answers herself with a triumphant grin, “That shit is your superpower.” Musically and personally she is completely herself, and for one night in Brixton, we were privileged enough to be introduced to her.

K.Flay @ Electric Brixton

K.Flay @ Electric Brixton (Kalpesh Patel)
K.Flay @ Electric Brixton (Kalpesh Patel)

Flay has a lot to celebrate on this tour. Last year she was diagnosed with sudden sensorineural hearing loss and labyrithitis, and after rounds of unsuccessful treatment she is now fully deaf in her right ear. However, a force of nature like Flay cannot be stopped so easily. Only a month ago she released her latest album, MONO. She opens with her autobiographical explanation of her recent history, Are You Serious?, stalking in from the raised platform and channelling her full nineties female rage. Accompanied by live bass and drums, she jerks like a puppet that’s lost it’s strings. She flips instantly between poetic solemnity and underground bass heartbeats.

The 38-year-old treats her audience like long lost friends, explaining the singles as she goes. She had a crush on someone, she reveals, and sent them her single Shy to show her feelings. Luckily it worked, and they ‘started dating’. “If you have some shit inside you, put it out into the world! Be fuckin’ brave!” She laughs before launching into a re-worked version of Shy. It’s pure loveliness, all openness and honesty, a confession from a punk rock Amy Winehouse. She does heartbreak songs achingly well. Hustler is sweet and bitter live like poison candy. Dividing the stage in two with coloured spotlight divides her sound but the shared grief she invokes in all of us brings us together. Empty, hollow percussion echoes build as she picks herself back up. The tempo climbs as Can’t Sleep begins, and her buzzing samples sting as they meander through the air. “Gimme fucking Zen,” she screams on Zen, her hands  slapping down our imaginary problems as we bounce on each other’s shoulders.

Usually a K.Flay record is production heavy in the footsteps of her hip-hop heroes. Live, she has nowhere to hide and her fuzzy, trash sound bursts forward at every turn. There’s so much grunge and rock hidden beneath the fuzzing trash of her samples as if she was the talented yet bratty adopted daughter of Kim Deal. The bass would make The Prodigy proud, and we relish the chance to jump and rave as she crunches on speaker stacks like a predatory spider. Irish Goodbye, her song about ‘that moment of clarity’ when you realise that you can ‘just fucking leave’ a relationship which isn’t right for you, is fizzing with raw, illicit energy from joy and regret. Punisher maximises her ethereal vocal which dodge between slices of guitar in a dark prayer for the bruised.

For a brief moment, she drops her stage persona. “I won’t take this for granted,” she shares honestly before dropping High Enough and transforming back into a strutting punk iconoclast, smashing her fists down as we summon the energy to match her. She’s decided not to do an encore, but that’s not surprising. Flay takes on the world on her own terms and projects a sense of herself as an individual at every turn, doing her own thing without compromise. In a world of identical female vocalists doing very similar things, K.Flay forges her own path and creates a show which is all her own.

  • K.Flay @ Electric Brixton
  • K.Flay @ Electric Brixton
  • K.Flay @ Electric Brixton
  • K.Flay @ Electric Brixton
  • K.Flay @ Electric Brixton
  • K.Flay @ Electric Brixton
  • K.Flay @ Electric Brixton
  • K.Flay @ Electric Brixton
  • K.Flay @ Electric Brixton
  • K.Flay @ Electric Brixton
  • K.Flay @ Electric Brixton
  • K.Flay @ Electric Brixton
  • K.Flay @ Electric Brixton
  • K.Flay @ Electric Brixton
  • K.Flay @ Electric Brixton
  • K.Flay @ Electric Brixton
  • K.Flay @ Electric Brixton
  • K.Flay @ Electric Brixton
  • K.Flay @ Electric Brixton
  • K.Flay @ Electric Brixton
  • K.Flay @ Electric Brixton
  • K.Flay @ Electric Brixton
  • K.Flay @ Electric Brixton
  • K.Flay @ Electric Brixton
  • K.Flay @ Electric Brixton
  • K.Flay @ Electric Brixton

Review of K. Flay at Electric Brixton on 3rd October 2023 by Kate Allvey. Photography by Kalpesh Patel.

Arlo Parks Devotion Proves She’s Just Too Good At Hammersmith Apollo 

Glastonbury Festival 2024 (Kalpesh Patel)

A Child’s Experience At Glastonbury Festival 2024

Only 7 years old, but already our son considers himself a Glastonbury Festival veteran! It’s his 5th visit to the...
Donovan Woods (Brittany Farhat)

Donovan Woods Releases Seventh Album Things Were Never Good If They’re Not Good Now

Acclaimed songwriter Donovan Woods has released his seventh studio album, Things Were Never Good If They’re Not Good...
ARCO (Jacob Barri)

AR/CO Drop Debut EP Origin Stories

The AR/CO creative universe is a fantastical vision of a futuristic desert rave, their pulsating, psychedelic...
Cults (Shervin Lainez) crop

Cults Release Hunting New Single Hung The Moon

Cults have shared their latest track, Hung The Moon. The acclaimed NY-based alt-pop band, comprised of...
China Bears (Rob Blackham:Blackham Images

British Quartet China Bears Release Debut Album Participation Trophy

Rising indie four-piece China Bears have released their highly anticipated debut album Participation Trophy. Speaking...
Robbie Williams @ BST Hyde Park 2024 (Louise Phillips)

Rock DJ Robbie Williams Entertains Us With The Glamour And The Party At BST Hyde Park 2024

On a rainy Saturday at London's beautiful Hyde Park the atmosphere was buzzing with excitement, because the ultimate...
AC/DC @ Wembley Stadium (Kalpesh Patel)

AC/DC Shake London’s Wembley Stadium All Night Long

Australian rock legends AC/DC return to London for the first of two sold-out gigs as the PWR/UP tour hits the...
Dua Lipa @ Glastonbury Festival 2024 (Kalpesh Patel)

Dua Lipa Pulls Off A Feat Of Pop Houdini At Glastonbury 2024

“This is a massive, massive, massive dream come true for me. I have written this moment down, I have wished for it, I...

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Share Thing