Despite being someone who is shamelessly intimidated by the culture of Pop Music in 2022, I found myself sitting in the TicketMaster waiting room last fall determined to acquire tickets for (what would eventually be) the best show I would attend so far this year. With this concert being my first experience with competitive ticket purchasing, I am pretty sure I blacked out for most of the transaction. Needless to say, I was ready to kickstart my 2014 Pop Revival the only way I knew how: seeing Charli XCX live at Moody Theater.
I’m not completely sure if everyone enjoyed Pop Culture circa 2014, but I did. While historians will have thousands of documents to analyze and dissect this era many years from now, I’d like to think the significance of what has been coined as the “John Green Effect” will act as a pillar. Though I was only in the early stages of entering my teenage years, the impact of hearing Charli XCX’s “Boom Clap” in the soundtrack of The Fault in Our Stars still serves as a core memory.
For these (somewhat embarrassing) reasons and more, my friends and I were anxiously awaiting the arrival of our favorite British Hyperpop Star’s “CRASH” Tour in Austin, Texas. When I say we were excited, I mean six of my friends drove ten hours the same day from Manhattan, Kansas.
Though I’d like to think their dedication gets them a few extra “fan club points,” Austinites seem to share the same affinity. I arrived about 30 minutes before the doors would open to the sold-out show- only to find what seemed to be all of Austin standing in one, single-file line leading into Moody Theater.
Once inside, the show was about to begin. Opening for Charli was Atlanta-born rapper and singer Baby Tate, whose success can be partially credited to the viral use of a few of her tracks on Tik-Tok. Although I didn’t have many expectations going into her performance, I was more than pleasantly surprised; switching between fast-paced bops and slower, emotional songs, the range of Baby Tate had me following her on all of her socials – even before her set was completed. After raising the energy of the already enthusiastic crowd, everyone in attendance couldn’t contain their energy for the main event.
Of all of the things that I took from this absolute fever-dream of a show: the performance that Charli XCX gave is the perfect example of what it means to be an entertainer. Despite my inexperience with high-energy stadium shows, I was in complete awe of this Pop-Star’s stage presence; she hit every. Single. Beat. In addition to the extensive physical involvement of each song, our entertainer cycled through three separate outfit changes- ultimately collaborating with surreal visual and strobe light work to result in a performance teetering on the brink of perfection.
The Pop Princess opened her set with “Lightning,” a track off of the most recent album she released in March of 2022; “Baby” and “Yuck!”, the fifth and sixth songs of the set, lent themselves to be what I consider the ideal back-to-back highlight of the night. Though I had quite a few tracks that I highly anticipated throughout the night, Charli XCX’s transition into her viral 2016 single “VROOM VROOM” had to be my peak shot of adrenaline; the set ended with her performance of “Good Ones,” another single off of her recent album, CRASH.
By the grace of a merciful God, my friends and I left the General Admission floor in one piece (mostly). Though I may not find myself regularly attending every Dance Pop show that comes through Austin in the future, I am so glad I got to experience a spectacularly engaging show.
For the hesitant reader: if you ever find yourself with the opportunity to attend a show that isn’t typically considered your “comfort genre,” buy a ticket anyway- you may be surprised to find yourself in an exciting change of scenery.
Featured Image by Avery Viers