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Review: Kelis Brings Her Milkshake to the… Sage Gateshead

Kelis singing with her hand in the air Credit: Victoria Wai
What's on
June 2023
Reading time 4 Minutes

Noughties hit-maker Kelis proved she's still more than a 'Lil Star' almost 20 years after she brought her chart-topping Milkshake to the yard

Our Digital Manager Hannah Colley joined fans at Sage Gateshead for a rare live appearance in the North East from the star — here's what she thought of the 'Bossy' singer's headline gig.

Kelis is responsible for some of the best pop songs from my youth so I was very excited to turn what would have been an average Tuesday night into a fun evening of singing and dancing along to the American star’s back catalogue of bangers featuring, (my personal faves) ‘Trick Me’ and ‘Millionaire’, at this iconic Gateshead venue (and what a blast from the past it was).  

Having only previously seen the world-renowned Royal Northern Sinfonia concert orchestra for one of their popular musical shows at Sage Gateshead last December, I was very intrigued as to how Kelis and her support act, Redcar-based rapper, producer and multi-instrumentalist Dylan Cartlidge would take over this performance space, and they didn’t disappoint. 

Dylan warmed up the audience with a funky and soulful set of songs from his debut album Hope Above Adversity. He sang with backup from his fiancee whose vocals were soulful and simply stunning. Dylan and his band are definitely ones to watch and I’ve already downloaded his feel-good songs to my Spotify playlist. 

Read More: Beyoncé Brings Her Renaissance World Tour to the UK

Kelis performing at Sage Gateshead Kelis performing at Sage Gateshead. Credit: Victoria Wai

Kelis opened her show with ‘Spaceship’, a song she collabed on with Italian DJ Benny Benassi. Her band was a total vibe consisting of two drummers with double drum kits that mirrored each other at either side of the stage, DJ NIKKI Beatnik who’s worked with iconic artists such as Jay Z, Kelly Rowland and Beyoncé to name a few and one of the coolest bassists I’ve ever seen live, as well as an incredible backing vocalist and talented musician on keys. 

A special shout-out must go to Kelis for bringing the party in a stunning silver, sparkly playsuit that gave me life (and that I need in my wardrobe) as she seamlessly performed hit after hit expertly remixed by her DJ without taking a break for applause. It was these club-like mixes and edits that were a huge highlight for me and my friend and her energy was infectious as she whine-style danced across the stage to the delight of the eclectic mix of North East fans. 

Incredibly her fan base ranged from families with kids (reminding me of my 10-year-old self dancing to ‘Milkshake’ when it was released in the summer of 2004) to 60-plus-year-olds and everyone in between, all enjoying the hit-maker’s set. It proved that at the age of 43, Kelis has still got it and it was amazing to see children getting the same joy out of her music that I did when I was younger. 

One of my favourite moments of the night; apart from the amazing mash-up of Wu-Tang Clan’s song, ‘Gravel Pit’ and ‘Milkshake’, was the mix of ‘Caught Out There’ into 80s/90s British R&B band Soul II Soul’s ‘Back to Life’ and then into ‘Millionaire’ – it was so much fun and a really impressive mix of three great tunes. 

Another stand-out part of the show was Kelis ending her set before the encore with an acapella sing-along with the audience to her 2009 song, ‘Acapella’ which was produced by world-class DJ David Guetta. This song showed just how much Kelis’ music spans genres as she moved from her hip hop and R&B classics to an electro house number, proving she really can do it all. 

Kelis had me dancing into the night and left me wishing it was the weekend. If you ever get the chance to see the BRIT award-winning star – do it – I promise you won’t be disappointed! 

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