Charli XCX Live in Chicago — How The Singer is Creating a New Future for Pop Music
Drag Queens, Poppers, Gay Rights, and Moshing — This Is A Charli XCX Show
A new subculture of pop music has been on the rise for the past couple years — experimental, futuristic, bold, and most importantly, more connected between artists and fans than ever before.
This new movement of pop culture has been pioneered by UK singer, Charli XCX with the help of other artists such as, Troye Sivan, Kim Petras, Allie X, SOPHIE, Dorian Electra, A.G. Cook, Slayyyter, and more.
On Saturday night, I got to experience this new wave of pop music live as Dorian Electra, Allie X, and Charli XCX made their way to Chicago’s House of Blues for Charli's first ever solo headlining tour, Charli Live, a sold-out show.
Dorian Electra kicked off the night in black leather and chains. Accompanying them on stage were two backup dancers.
The choreography between Dorian and their dancers was exhilarating and the energy got higher and higher as the show progressed.
The queer, nonbinary artist created an atmosphere for the night of hyper-pop fantasy that excited the crowd for one of the best nights of their lives.
Dorian performed some their major hits including Man to Man, Flamboyant, VIP, and Jackpot.
The night then transitioned into a performance from the Canadian dark-pop icon, Allie X.
Allie carried on the theme of experimental pop music by enchanting the audience with her high-pitched vocals and captivating stage presence.
The unique singer used her time on stage to present four new unreleased songs to the crowd that left everyone gagging for more.
Allie has been an artist I have personally admired and have been inspired by since 2015. If you are interested in learning more about the artist (which you should be), you can check out the blog I posted about her back in April here.
Allie X’s Setlist:
2.) New Song (unreleased)
3.) Paper Love
4.) Fresh Laundry
6.) New Song (unreleased)
7.) New Song (unreleased)
8.) New Song (unreleased)
The lights dimmed. Smoke rose from the stage. A voice-over played through the speakers a thank you message from Charli to all of her friends who have been featured in her music and helped make the night come to life.
It was time for the manic Charli XCX party to begin.
“I go hard, I go fast, and I never look back,” Charli sang as she danced onto the stage in neon green fringe pants. “Turn the volume up / put your hands up and scream /bump bump, lights go out / go forever and ever.”
The entire floor began to SHAKE as fans jumped up and down and began to mosh (and one guy attempted to swing from the balcony).
Charli moved on to her second song of the night, Click, featuring Kim Petras and Tommy Cash.
The prominent thing about this number is that it genuinely embodies the aesthetic of Charli XCX and represents everyone who supports this new future movement of pop music.
“Pull up, vroom vroom, oh sh*t / Charli’s up in this bitch / …You can’t f*ck with my clique /…I’m next level, so legit with all my clique, clique, clique / all you bitches f*cking wish you had this clique.”
As I looked out into the audience it was clear at that moment that all of us in the venue really are one big clique.
The sense of community that has been built amongst the fans and Charli is palpable. There is no other artist out there who is as committed to creating something new within their genre of music that connects with their fans as Charli is.
We were all dressed in outlandish outfits with zero judgment, strangers were dancing with each other, everyone was sharing their poppers — it was beautiful.
One fan, Caleb Marin, who arrived at the venue at 7:00 AM to ensure a front-row view of the show said, “Charli is an incredible performer and I love the way she interacts with her fans. The fact that she cares about us as much as we care about her is so meaningful. That’s why I keep chasing my bag — to be able to keep going to her shows and buy her albums and merch without regret.”
Marin adds, “Her music is out of this world, you never know what she’s gonna put out next. Charli’s totally next level and if you don’t see it, you’re not on it.”
Other fans felt so connected to the Charli XCX scene that they got engaged during Charli’s meet and greet. Charli later dedicated her love song, Official, to the couple with the biggest smile on her face (which lowkey made me tear up a bit).
The intensely chaotic yet authentic energy reached a thrilling high when Charli sang her cult-favorite number, Vroom Vroom, as pink strobe lights illuminated the room.
“LAVENDER LAMBORGHINI, ROLL UP IN A BLUE BIKINI, BITCHES ON THE BEACHES LOOKIN’ SUPER CUTE AND FREAKY / …VROOM VROOM, BITCHES KNOW THEY CAN’T CATCH ME / VROOM VROOM, CUTE, SEXY, AND MY RIDE’S SPORTY,” the crowd chanted back to Charli louder than she could even sing the words into her mic.
Her ability to keep a crowd entertained and absolutely manic deserves to be applauded.
Another highlight of the night was during Charli’s song, Shake It, when she invited local drag queens and dancers to come on stage and showcase their talent with her throughout the number.
“Gay rights!” Charli yelled as she announced the performers onto the stage.
One of these lucky dancers invited to perform was Milwaukee native and Charli XCX stan, Michael Hierl.
“A dream come true! I’ve looked up to Charli since 2013 and I’ve watched her grow into an amazing artist who has such a dedicated fan base,” Hierl said.
Hierl described his experience on stage as, “absolutely amazing,” and that, “the crowd energy was everything and being on the other side of it was crazy!”
He went on to say how appreciative he was for the opportunity to dance with Charli and tell her about the impact she has made on his life.
“Prepare yourself for an amazing night, the fans go hard! Get ready to dance and feel free because that’s exactly what Charli wants from you!” Hierl says to those who have yet to experience a Charli XCX show.
Hierl added, “the years of waiting for a solo headlining tour are finally over and BABY it was worth the wait!”
Charli XCX’s Setlist:
1.) Next Level Charli 11.) Offical
2.) Click 12.) Shake It
3.) I Don’t Want To Know 13.) I Got It
4.) Vroom Vroom 14.)Track 10/Blame It
5.) Gone 15.) Silver Cross
6.) Cross You Out 16.) 2099
7.) Warm 17.) Unlock It
8.) February 2017 18.) I Love It
9.) Thoughts 19.) Boys
10.) White Mercedes 20.) 1999
My name is Tara and I put out articles for UIC Radio on whatever day I can. I’m a media communication and professional writing major at the University of Illinois at Chicago. I host a pop music show, PopTara, on UIC Radio every Wednesday from 8:30pm-10:30pm. If you want to keep up with my manic life you can follow me here:
twitter – @phemebot
instagram – @tarapheme
facebook – @PopTara