Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Charli XCX - Live in New York City

Combining elements the best 80’s and 90’s pop has to offer with a modern street smart sensibility, British recording artist Charli XCX unleashes a veritable tour-de-force with her dazzling debut album “True Romance.” Impeccable songwriting and highest level sound quality make for a seamless and instantly likeable listening experience. Charli takes on the universal themes of broken relationships as well as the sheer joy of going out with someone you just love spending time with.

In addition to her recently completed support slot for like-minded friend Marina and The Diamonds as well as her own immediately following solo headline tour, Charli squeezed in some in-store appearances to meet and greet with her fans.

Appearning at Urban Outfitters in downtown Manhattan on Thursday, May 30, 2013 - an excited crowd of dedicated fans turned up to hear Charli perform a handful of songs from her debut CD, purchase a copy of True Romance and have the artist herself sign it for them.

You could feel the anticipation in the air as Charli hit the stage and launched into some of the most recognizable tracks from her album.

Her voice, style and image was everything you might have expected from an artist who initial imprint on the musicial landscape has created the waves it has so far.

The neon lighting from behind cast a brilliant glow over her, perfectly capturing the electricity felt throughout her audience.

Check out one of her performances on this day - the heartbreakingly powerful "Stay Away"

Although the crowd was packed in tightly, the more intimate setting was well suited for this less-amplified, slightly more stripped down performance.

What shone through was this artists relaxed yet professional approach, combined with a sincere and heartfelt delivery that displayed a clear affection for the songs she has written.

Following the performance, the audience eagery lined up for an opportunity to meet Charli and have their freshly purchased True Romance CD's signed.

The ample and open space in the store allowed her to move about freely as she greeted her fans.

Charli enjoyed more than a few laughs and grins with everyone there for her.

One writes the songs - the other writes about those songs.  And so the cycle continues.

One final photographic memento of the day - here with the super friendly and helpful staff.


A mere 24 hours later it was time to do it all over again, as Charli XCX kicked off her solo tour with a performance at The Glasslands Gallery in Brooklyn.

Supporting Charli on this leg of the tour was a female fronted pop band called Little Daylight

I enjoyed their 80's influenced dance pop, and thought the singer attractive and stylish (though my female companion show attendee was not nearly as impressed).

Perhaps it was down to the mood and the moment, but I felt swept up by the sights (and sounds) this band had to offer.

They reminded me (at times) of Blondie at their most dance-oriented period - or even the 80's band Animotion.  As far as I was concerned, they served as a perfect warm-up for the main attraction.

For reference:

While waiting for the Headliner to come on, it was a bit of fun just looking around at the crowd and seeing the anticipation on everyone's faces.

As well as taking a snapshot of my friend Kristina's totally awesome tattoo.

Finally the moment had come, and Charli and band took to the stage under hushed lighting.

The blue lights of Glasslands created a mysterious backdrop for Charli's "lightsabre" lit mic stand.

For this full performance there were more keyboards and a complete drum set.

Initially she wore a floral print shirt over her trademark midriff top and plaid schoolgirl skirt.

The neon lit microphone stand created interesting visual effects and served as a capable prop for her to engaged with.

The band and overall sound was exceptional quality, and Charli's reputation for high-energy performances was proven accurate with each successive song.

Have a look and listen here:

The unbridled joy expressed in “Take My Hand” explodes with a plea to go out and enjoy the night. “Why you gotta to sleep? Don’t go to sleep – let’s go out” The hook that follows captures the spirit and vibe of classic 80’s dance tracks like Madonna ’s “ Holiday .” “Baby put your hands on my hands – dance with your lips on my lips.” You can hear the audience singing along with every word.

Basking in the glow

Impassioned vocals

Confident demeanor

Embracing everyone along for the ride

Early enough into the set, Charli lost the overshirt and dazzled the audience with one brilliant album track after another.

This one in particular had everyone singing along and bouncing up and down in celebration:

“You (Ha Ha Ha)  might possibly be the catchiest earworm you’ll ever get stuck in your head.  By writing lyrics for and singing over the electronic world-music instrumental track by Gold Panda, Charli managed to develop something already great into a complete, fully realized anthem.

An accomplished songwriter and performer.

A big sound is produced from keyboards, drums and voice.  The promise of added guitars in the future is an enticing prospect.

Moving to the music

Appealing to the crowd

Having full command of the room.

It's hard to imagine a rising artist of this calibre ever playing this size room again.  Surely the next level will be established, whenever she returns to New York.

Earlier in the month I conducted a telephone interview with Charli, and you can read the results of that (along with more song reviews) at this link here:


Patricia Mena said...

What a great singer she is! I like all songs. "Stay away"... wow, caught me so deep, could feel every word and every bit of the rhythm... I love "Take my hand", was dancing on my chair hahaha, it's a cool song! Really enjoyed. Great pics and review Dave!

DaveCromwell said...

Those two songs, Patricia - on an album with so many great ones - may be her very best. Yeah, if you can relate to "Stay Away" - that one hits you right in the gut. Fortuntely, there is "Take My Hand" to help you get over it!

Anonymous said...

Really like the song she did with Marina and the Diamonds. Cool photos.

DaveCromwell said...

Oh, yeah - "Just Desserts" - that one is excellent. You can hear it over on the interview link I posted at the end of this feature.

Misty said...

what a fantastic feature on my new fave singer! great photos, videos and descriptions. and yes, i love that song 'take my hand' a lot!

DaveCromwell said...

Wonderful to hear you say, Misty. I always hope that I can convey the sense of 'being there' with these features. Of course, the interview I conducted with the artist came prior, and can be found via the link there right at the end.

William said...

Great blog- nice music too- tiny bit poppy for me but hey whatever- still cool- seems like a cool girl and the visual stimuli the world needs is there so no doubt she'll be mucho successful - STay Away is my fav so far - will pass it on to my bro who is a Marina & Diamonds fan!!

Ivanka said...

woo hoo!!! really cool! Awesome pics, great tunes :)

DaveCromwell said...

Yeah, most Marina fans are aware of Charli now - since they did a song together (the above mentioned "Just Desserts") - a quality song that captures the best of both artists.

Mr Smork said...

nice feature. like photos. and that "star saber" mic stand looks awesome.

where did you found her? cause i got to notice that she slightly differs from what you usually write about. :P

charli tiny bit reminds me of some other singer from west coast. :P
though charli's music has a lot of quality in it's pop thing what is a good thing i suppose. :)

all in all nice, fresh - has this "wow" effect on me:)
rise my hat. :)

The Grim Reefer said... the jingle-jangled mornin', when the dawn scratches your eyelids and the smells are all crooked, When the lights are all needles and taste like copper........
.....I think to did i get here?
.........I love ya like a brother, Dave, but you gotta know which pics to spike.
Great read..nice listen...thanks

DaveCromwell said...

Great stuff, boys. "star sabre" - I like that description. Fresh indeed. And just how did you get here, Reefer? I think Mr. Tambourine Man knows.

Misty said...

stopping back here has made me appreciate these wonderful songs all over again :)