It’s been a whole year since we first went into lockdown. During those 12 months, artists have had to work harder than ever to maintain a connection with their fanbase. From Taylor Swift‘s otherworldly album ‘Folklore’ to Charli XCX crowdsourcing fan input into last year’s lockdown record ‘How I’m Feeling Now’, some artists have offered genuine comfort at a time where that’s been in very short supply.
Despite this increased connection with her fanbase, the Angels, Charli hasn’t really done much in the way of livestreamed gigs since the world went online. There have been a handful of virtual DJ sets and a lone live performance via Boiler Room that was riddled with so many technical faults, you wouldn’t blame her if she wanted to wait for a bit of normality before returning to the stage. Tonight, via the app Bandsintown PLUS, she’s back to reclaim her title as Queen of all things party.
And what a comeback it is. With the camera following Charli to a room full of mirrors, she dives straight into the glitching pop beast of ‘Spinning’. The live debut of her collaboration with No Rome and The 1975 sees the urgent track living up to its party starting potential before a snippet of pulsating new song ‘What You Want backs’ up her claims of a poptastic new era starting in the near future.
One outfit change later and Charli moves things to a bedroom, reliving her childhood dreams of pop stardom as she performs chirpy love song ‘Focus’ and the soaring euphoria of ‘Pop 2’ standout ‘Track 10’ with utter glee. It’s the most confident she’s ever looked on stage. Later, Charli finds herself in an empty room, backed by lights, lasers and video screens, before leaping into another new song. This one cycles through confessional SoundCloud emo-rap, dream pop rager and soaring industrial as she really shows off her vocal range.
Following the tragic death of producer SOPHIE, a rendition of their collaboration ‘Paradise’ is an emotional moment. As Charli explains, fighting back tears, “SOPHIE changed everything for me. I’m obviously really sad that she’s gone but I’m really happy she’s going to continue to live on through her music and creativity.”
With more ambition than your usual livestream, Charli’s set tonight is production-heavy but never feels distant. The emotional party starter loses herself in the music with the same joyful abandon as those of us raving from home as she manages to once again unite a global audience with her art.
Charli XCX played
‘Out of My Head’
‘Don’t Think Twice’