Written By | Jenny Shackleton
The line for the sold out Charli XCX show at Union Transfer in Philadelphia was wrapped around the block. The fans, called “Angels”, anxiously waited outside with faces full of glitter and the highest cut crop tops I’ve ever seen. You can tell these Angels came to do one thing: dance.
The opener, Dorian Electra, set the mood for the whole night. The blue-haired beauty dressed in leather garb had the crowd dancing along with them and their scantily clad dancers from the first song. Dorian was featured on Charli’s Pop 2 album a few years back, so they were a natural choice to open the show.
In anticipation for Charli to come on, I saw at least three different half-naked men reapply their glitter lip gloss and many selfies being taken. At 9pm, the Angels start chanting “Charli! Charli! Charli!” as the lights go down. Charli starts the set with “Next Level Charli”, the first track off of her most recent album, Charli. Throughout the set I could tell why she chose these names for her song and album. She has left her radio pop persona behind and has escalated to a rave favorite. It is obvious in her music that she has stopped writing music for labels and has started making music for herself.
Charli’s tracks are well known for the iconic features on them. I was curious as to how she would go about Big Freedia’s verse in “Shake It” or Troye Sivan’s parts in her single “1999”. To my surprise she rapped and sang almost every feature on the songs which must have been challenging. Her recorded tracks also use autotune heavily, so it was great to hear her use her naturally beautiful singing voice on all the songs.
Easily, the best part of the night was the mashup of the songs “Shake It” and “I Got It’. The songs have extremely similar elements and almost all the same features, just an album apart from each other. I could tell that these were the songs the fans were waiting for all night and I could see why. The energy surged through the dance floor and every one was jumping when the beat dropped, all still while singing along. It was also the only time of the night that Charli shared the stage, inviting up some drag queen fans to shake it with her up there, while everyone else in the room was shaking it on the floor.
As the show came to an end Charli thanked all her Angels for being there and said her shows are places that she hopes people can be themselves and feel safe. It was obvious that she achieved that ambiance as I looked around at all the people having the times of their lives, without a worry in the world. Charli ended the show with her single “1999”, after singing the song that made her famous all those years ago “I Love It’. In between those songs, she said to the crowd, “Is this the best pop show you’ve ever been to Philly?”. Yes, it definitely was Charli.
Photo Credit: Jenny Shackleton