Concert Preview: Gettin’ fancy with Charli XCX

It’ll be Thursday, and you’ll might end up asking yourself why you went to Rhino instead of seizing the night. Why not venture out of the Georgetown bubble to the 9:30 Club for a concert that will change your life? Charli XCX is playing the 9:30 Club on Thursday, Oct. 2. Doors are at 10:00 p.m. and tickets are $22.

Charli XCX is the Billboard Hot 100’s greatest secret. Maybe you’ve heard of Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy,” or Icona Pop’s “I Love It?” Both of these were co-written by this Queen Midas herself, who still has minimal name recognition for someone whose music has been played ad nauseam on radio stations all summer long. It’s really surprising that she’s still playing venues as small as the 9:30 Club when her contemporaries, whose names she effectively made, are playing in stadiums globally. More recently, “Boom Clap” has climbed up the charts after being featured in the summer tearjerker film The Fault In Our Stars.

But these hit songs are not wholly representative of the pop genius that is Charli XCX. While she got signed in 2010, she released her debut EP, “You’re The One,” in 2012. And it’s still spectacular two years later. “Stay Away” is a downtempo and slowly grooving dichotomy between delicate synths and gritty undertones. Her tendency towards the grunge of Siouxsie Sioux seems perpetually at odds with her soft voice.

But “Stay Away” was only the beginning. She quickly followed it up with “Nuclear Seasons,” a perennial favorite of Vox. This song embodies everything that Charli XCX has grown into as an artist: sultry, full of haunting shadows, but immediately fascinating. It feels like the musical equivalent of Chernobyl.

“Nuclear Seasons” later became the opening track on her 2013 freshman album True Romance.  Pitchfork wrote of it:

 But like 90s pop stars turned 10s pop sophisticates Justin Timberlake and Beyoncé, Charli XCX stamps her personality across the entire project, and True Romance suggests she’ll be worth following for a while. On Tumblr, Instagram, and whatever comes next, sure, but musically most of all.

Her trajectory has been nothing but upward, from L.A. to Tokyo. Even though her most popular song on Spotify is “Boom Clap,” the 2013 single “Superlove” perfectly encapsulates how Vox feels about Charli. She’s authentically herself, a Vitamixed New Wave pop princess sipped with swirly straws out of a Mason jar.

Vox caught her live in November of last year, and Charli XCX lit up the stage with her energy. She turned a stationary and bleary crowd into a sweaty and twirling organism with a beating heart of bass. Vox can guarantee that this will be one of those concerts where you can say you saw her before she blew up. Trust Vox. The next time Charli XCX visits D.C., it’ll be to play the sold-out Verizon Center.

Catch her this time at the 9:30 Club on Thursday, October 2, at 10:00 p.m. Tickets are still available for $22 here. Opening for Charli XCX is Elliphant and Femme.

Photo: Charli XCX via Facebook

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