Featured Review : Charli XCX
In an age where pop-stars are a dime a dozen it has become hard to find true and raw talent such as Charli XCX, a young artist on the rise from England who is truly trying to re-invent exactly what it is we consider a pop-star in 2014. Her music has infiltrated our radios all year in the form of cameos on Icona Pop’s “I Love It” and Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy”, now as Charli XCX is preparing for her new album “Sucker” to drop in December she has achieved massive radio success with her song “Boom Clap” and has embarked on a US Tour as well.
This is by no means her first tour here in the States but this one comes at much different time in her career, many of the shows have been sold out and her show at the Theater of Living Arts was no exception to this mold because it was very close to capacity limit this past Friday.
It was well past 10:30 when Charli XCX and her band took the stage to a cranked up performance of “Sucker” that had the crowd bouncing on their feet so much that barricade in front of the stage was shaking from their constant jumping combined with the sheer volume of the bass in her song. It becomes very clear why Charli XCX is so successful from the minute the show starts, she can sing and she sing very damn well. I’d go as far to say that she out sings the majority of artists she has guest tracked with and I will attest to the fact that she is probably the best technical “pop” singer that I have ever had the chance to cover. That being said I think it is unfair to categorize her with all the other popstars out there because she really doesn’t fit that mold, in the best way possible.
Charli XCX’s band brings a lot of energy to her live performance that gets lost when a backing music track is played, to hear her singing along with real live music makes her vocals shine even more. Enough can’t be said about her interaction with fans too, a trait that I feel all good musicians should embody no matter where they are in their career. The last time Charli XCX came through Philadelphia she played a much smaller venue so to be playing to almost a sold out crowd in the Theater of Living Arts is a huge transition but that didn’t stop her from holding as many fans hands as she could during the night and singing right into the faces of everyone who came out early enough to be on the barricade up front.
Her music isn’t like the majority of songs on the radio right now, they are catchy but when you stop and listen to them you will find that her lyrics are much more dense than most and the actual music is much more intricate. Charli XCX doesn’t fit into the pop-scene and that is what music needs right now, we need more artists and risk-takers because we have reached a plateau of familiarity with music.
The night’s music consisted of a fair amount of tracks that will be on the upcoming “Sucker” LP as well as many of the songs that we have come to know over the summer like “Fancy” and her own hit single “Boom Clap.” The 18 song setlist was a great chance for Charli XCX to show exactly what she can do because when it comes down to it she can do more than you know; she can speed things up for an in your face F. U. with tracks like “Sucker,” slow things down and get serious with songs like “Black Roses” and turn a room into a party with catchy choruses on “Break the Rules.” She showcased it all at the Theater of Living Arts and gave everyone in that venue a show that they will never remember from the very beginning to the last sweaty head bang at the end of the night.
It is safe to say that her new album is going to catapult Charli XCX to all new levels, those who were lucky enough to make out to this show will always be able to say that they saw her play such an intimate show because from here out she is only going to be playing to bigger and bigger crowds. “Sucker” comes out in December and when it does America will be forced to re-think the “popstar,” Charli XCX is here and she is ready to take our country by storm with this album. Do yourself a favor and check out the songs she has out already or if you are lucky enough get out to date on this tour, you won’t be disappointed.
Also be sure to check out Sight of Sound’s exclusive gallery from Matt Christine Photography :