Music, The Features, We Love Music

We Love Music: Charli XCX @ U Street Music Hall—11/16/13

The fashionable Charli XCX was perfectly at home at U Street Music Hall, backed by a talented all-girl band, as she purred and roared to a sold-out audience in the packed underground club.

But U Street Music Hall was absolutely packed so full that space to breathe was difficult to find unless you were far at the back end of the hall, suggesting that Charli really ought to be in the 9:30 Club or some other larger venue next time she comes to DC!

Charli’s cool visual style—in a pale dress and white leather jacket, contrasted to the short black dresses of her band—set the tone visually for a buoyant and electric show. She opened, however, with a rap song, “What I Like,” which isn’t in step with her overall darkly new wave sound. Once into the set, she really hits her stride with “Nuclear Seasons” and “Lock You Up”—both stunningly lush yet spiky pop songs that really set the tone for her album True Romance. It’s songs like these—songs of loneliness and alienation set to a powerful dance beat—that really form the foundation of True Romance, and I was absolutely thrilled to her sing them with vitality and passion.

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Music, The Features, We Love Music

Hot Ticket: Charli XCX @ U Street Music Hall, 11/16/13

Charli XCX (Photo by Dan Curwin)

Charli XCX (Photo by Dan Curwin)

Charli XCX is best known for something for which we don’t associate her—she wrote the hit song “I Love It” for Icona Pop. That alone suggests that she’s pretty clever.

But listening to her latest album, True Romance, confirms that she does indeed have good ears for good beats. Charli has a talent for lacing together different musical threads into what critics have labeled “neon goth.” What does that mean exactly? Well her pop songs tend to be upbeat and sometimes even upbeat but with dark musical textures. Take her single “Nuclear Seasons” for example. The lyrics compare the aftermath of a rocky love affair to the desolation of nuclear war. Some “summer lovin’!”

Ultimately, the lady comes to dance, so come out to dance along with her collection of catchy songs. I’ve heard she’s an energetic and charismatic performer, and I’m looking forward to finding out firsthand at an early show at U Street Music Hall on Saturday.

Charli XCX
w/ Kitten, Liz
U Street Music Hall
Saturday, Nov. 16
Doors @6pm
All ages