Charli XCX: She came. She slayed. She served.

This title is the only way to surmise Charli XCX’s performance at the Northcote Theatre.

Anticipation for her show was at an all time high. Tickets had sold out almost instantaneously as soon as they were made available. A line stretched around the block with everyone in their extravagant and glamourous hyper-pop inspired looks.

Most importantly, however, this was the final leg of XCX’s Crash tour.

Setting this at the Northcote Theatre created a special element to the performance. Yes, it is a smaller intimate venue, but it was still very grand in nature. The baroque-style ceilings and balcony overlooking the stage created a fitting match for someone like XCX to perform against. Seeing eager fans fill out this historic space helped set the stage for what would be an exciting night.

With energy high and electricity in the air, the DJ opener Prophecy Girl strutted to the stage in an outfit complete with a spikey knitted balaclava, to deliver an explosive set of fan favourite tunes. They provided high octane remixes of songs from artists like Kim Petras, SOPHIE and Rina Sawayama to get the crowd poised and ready. If you take anything from this review, I recommend giving the set a listen on their Soundcloud. I have been throttling on repeat the remix of American Teenager by Ethel Cain and you should as well.

Now all that was left was for XCX to grace the stage. And grace it in Charli XCX style she did. Lightning strikes and car screeches roared through the speakers and lit up the screens. Bursting onto the stage with her two back up dancers, she opened with a performance of ‘Lightning’ from the latest album. A mark of what this ‘crash ear’ was all about. In your face, explosive and demonic. The show was in full swing.

Highlights from the set would be the ballad-like performances of Gone, Track 10 and New Shapes. Then, there were the songs that created complete chaos. Not scary chaos. Fun chaos. Dance-around-and-let-loose chaos. Songs in this category included 1999, Boys, I Got It and Good Ones set the crowd into a frenzy. Of course, the crown jewel of this setlist being Vroom Vroom. Not only is Vroom Vroom one of the greatest pop songs of the 2010s but also, I had made the discovery that it is one of the greatest songs I will ever see performed live. The demonic screech just before the song kicks into full gear is physically lifechanging in ways I haven’t recovered from yet.

Another great aspect of the show was how in tune XCX is with the fans. The show had such a strong pace to it in the way the setlist was structured. This, paired with excellent choreography from XCX and her backup dancers, showed how strong of a performer she is. Shifting the focus on the new material to even briefly revisiting her first big hits with Boom Clap provided a strong show for her most devoted listeners who have seen her grow as an artist over the last decade.

Overall, it was truly a wonderful experience to see an artist like Charli XCX in a setting like this. XCX is a gift to the pop music scene and being able to see this grand and powerful personality on stage is something that I’ll treasure for a long time.

By Vivian Dobbie-Glazier

Header Image via Vivian Dobbie-Glazier

Catalyst has been the student publication of RMIT University since 1944. We may be older than your parents but we’re still going strong!

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