On Friday, Oct. 11, English singer and songwriter Charli XCX delivered a knockout show at the First Avenue Mainroom despite the unexpected freezing cold and snow.
First discovered in 2008 on MySpace, Charli has continually experimented with her musical style throughout her career. Her 2013 album True Romance differs greatly from her pop-punk sensibilities of Sucker and impressively contrasts her experimental EP Vroom Vroom. After the release of two mixtapes, Number 1 Angel and Pop 2, she finally released her newest album titled Charli in September, clearly showing even more development of her avant-pop/electropop sound.
Dorian Electra, featured on Charli’s song “Femmebot” from her Pop 2 mixtape, kicked off the show at 8:00 sharp. Dorian, a nonbinary artist, defies gender norms in their music and released their debut album Flamboyant this past July. An unapologetically bold album of experimental pop, this album made up most of their high energy setlist. Dorian and their two backup dancers were strong performers, keeping the audience entertained with their choreographed dances and props: fake swords were thrown out into the crowd during “Live by the Sword” and sheet music scattered for “Musical Genius.”
After Dorian’s set, the crowd only continued to grow, pushing closer to the stage in anticipation of Charli. Soon enough, the lights dimmed and an entertaining intro monologue by Charli began. She told the crowd to “get ready to rave, get ready to party, get ready to vroom vroom with your number #1 angel, the motherfucking savior of pop music,” before giving a shoutout to the numerous collaborators on her album and telling the crowd to make some noise before she walked on.
The crowd followed those directions well, screaming and cheering for her as she finally came on stage and kicked things off with “Next Level Charli” and “Click,” a fan favorite from her new album.
Charli didn’t hesitate to stack the beginning of the setlist with high-powered tracks, and four songs in she was already performing what many fans consider her best track of all, “Vroom Vroom.” As soon as the intro played, fans went wild. They knew every word to the iconic SOPHIE-produced track, and did their best to shout them as loud as possible, overpowering Charli’s own vocals. This excitement and singing continued through “Gone,” “Warm,” and “Cross You Out,” more top picks from the new album.
Following a few slower, ballad-like songs and an outfit change, Charli was ready to bring up the energy again, and easily achieved that with her chaotic, upbeat, and experimental track “Shake It.” Throughout her tour, Charli has invited local performers on stage to dance during each of the different verses by Big Freeida, CupcakKe, Brooke Candy, and Pabllo Vittar. The same happened in Minneapolis, with each of the performers individually entertaining the crowd in different ways.
Charli wrapped up her encore with the upbeat “Unlock it” and, afterward, jumped into Icona Pop’s “I Love It.” Keeping the sing-alongs going, her 2018 poppy single “Boys” was next. Last but not least was “1999,” a great way to finish off the set as Charli encouraged as many people as possible to get on each other’s shoulders during the final chorus, the crowd excitedly following those instructions.
As someone who has followed Charli since early 2012, it has been incredible to see her grow as an artist and find her own unique sound that resonates with her and her fans. The new experimental nature of her music is exciting and keeps fans eagerly attempting to guess what she’s going to release next. It is incredible to see her get well-deserved love and appreciation as she sells out the shows on her 2019 tour. She is sure to continue to sell out shows as her talents and success develop and grow.
Article written by Victoria Kosel