Concert Review: Charli XCX


Charli XCX performing “Silver Cross” during the second half of the show. Picture by @enelledee

Following the release of her third studio album, British singer and songwriter Charli XCX had a tour stop, with Brooke Candy, performing at the Fox Theater in Oakland on Wednesday, October 6, and the experience was life-changing. Attending the show allowed me to meet so many cool people, change my perspective, and made me look forward to growing up and attending many more LGBTQ inclusive spaces like this one. 

Getting to the venue was easy. My friend and I got dropped off by uber a little before the actual location, but as soon as we got out of the car, we saw a man in a pink mini skirt and a plus-size woman with glitter makeup walking, and knowing Charli and Brooke’s fanbase we instantly knew to follow them. We turned out to be right and the venue was just a block down. There were a few people outside, but there was absolutely no line to get in. For reference, it was 7:30 pm, the doors opened at 7 pm and the show started at 8 pm. We thought that was odd, but we were glad we could get good spots in the general admission section right in front of the stage.

Waiting for Brooke to come out was super exciting. My friend and I were just talking about how long we’ve loved these artists when a Planned Parenthood representative passed by offering free condoms. We thought it was really cool that they were spreading sexual health awareness by teaming up with Charli, making it so that if you posted something on social media and tagged Planned Parenthood with a fact about sexual health, you could win a signed vinyl album.

Obviously, Brooke put on an amazing opening show. Brooke Candy is a sex-positive queer icon and we expected nothing less than what she delivered. When she came out, she appeared with her back facing the audience wearing a leather blazer that read, “TRANS RIGHTS ARE HUMAN RIGHTS” and the audience, or as she calls her fanbase “The Fag Mob”, cheered as she proudly showcased it. Brooke wore a skin-tight, latex, BDSM-inspired bodysuit with a neon green mullet and black eye makeup. She opened up with her classic feminist songs “I Wanna F**k Right Now” and “Das Me” which challenges double standards and slut-shaming. After a couple more of her old songs, she sang “XXTC” and “Drip”, two singles from her upcoming album “Sexorcism” which was set to release on October 25, 2019. 

After the spectacular performance that Ms. Candy delivered, there was a brief intermission before Charli introduced herself. A pre-recorded audio clip played in which Charli told us that this would be the best night of our lives and that she would blow our minds (spoiler: she did).

 She then thanked every artist and producer that worked on the album before alluding to popular inside jokes within her fanbase, she stated, “Get ready for Charli XBOX, Poppers 2, it’s Charli baby, when I go hard know I go crazy” which drove the crowd insane.

In addition to Charli being very open-minded and progressive, she’s also known to be super interactive with her fans. From doing free meet and greets before her shows, to regularly interacting with fans on Twitter, she has always been down to earth and super sweet to her supporters. This was shown perfectly when towards the end of the show she had drag queens, girls, guys, and crossdressers go up on stage to perform during Brazilian drag superstar Pabllo Vittar’s Portuguese verse in her song, “Shake It”. Her fans can message her on Instagram before the concert and if they can dance and put on a show whichever way that may be, Charli will write back and invite them up on stage for that part of the song. 

Most of the songs she performed were from her self-titled album with the exception of a couple of songs from her last mixtape “Pop 2” and some singles from a few years back. She opened with her first track, “Next Level Charli” which due to its high energy, did a great job at pumping up the crowd. She then played my favorite song from the album, “Click ft. Kim Petras Tommy Cash” The crowd went wild for that one especially during the ending which is a medley of robotic and metallic sounds. She then brought it down by singing a personal song from the album, “I Don’t Wanna Know”. After that though, she surprised us with her iconic fan-favorite, “Vroom Vroom”. She went on after and sang the rest of the songs from her album before Brooke Candy came out to perform “I Got It” and “Shake It” with Charli. After the excitement of what was probably the highlight of the show died down a little, Charli performed the last three songs left from her album, “Blame It On Your Love”, “Silver Cross”, and “2099”.

Just when we thought the show was over, the crowd started chanting “Charli! Charli! Charli!” inciting an inevitable encore she does at every show. Charli came out once again and performed “Unlock It”, “Boys”, “1999”, and “I Love It”, all successful singles. This album is so important and different to Charli and the fanbase because it has a lot more slow songs compared to her previous works. 

The best part of the show was neither Brooke nor Charli nor anyone in specific, but the experience as a whole. The people, the music, and the ambiance were what made the night truly special for us fans. 

I talked to Julian Rodriguez, a student from Alisal, who also went separately. When I asked him about the experience he stated, “…that concert really opened my eyes and let me see that there’s a different world outside of Salinas. Not everything is black and white and not everyone is the same and that made me excited to finally be able to go out into the real world. It also made me feel more accepted because I was surrounded by people that thought like me, listened to the same music as me, and had many other things in common with me. I wasn’t scared of being who I was there because I didn’t feel judged unlike at school or at the mall and that felt very liberating because I didn’t have to worry about anything besides just having fun.” 

Overall, the experience was definitely life-changing, being immersed in queer culture like that, whilst seeing two of my favorite artists perform showed me what I can look forward to once I get older. For the actual show, I would give it a 10/10 solely because Charli sounded amazing live and her energy is always unmatched despite performing for days in a row. Every drag queen we met was extremely nice and it was such an awesome feeling to experience Charli with all her other fans. As for any concert, sharing the love of music with other fans is awesome but this concert let me share more than a love for music. Most importantly, this experience let me and my friends feel comfortable and gave us a sense of belonging.