Charli XCX plays intimate Brighton concert
CHARLI XCX + PIRI & TOMMY – CONCORDE 2, BRIGHTON 2.9.22
“It’s Charli babbyyyy”: Charli XCX at the Concorde 2 as part of the Music Venue Trust & The National Lottery’s Revive Live Tour.
After much anticipation, my September kicked off with a gig to remember. Charli XCX was performing as part of the Music Venue Trust & The National Lottery’s Revive Live Tour in a venue more intimate than her usual venues. Tonight was a very exclusive concert: I felt honoured to be there: not many people can say they were four rows away from the barrier at a Charli XCX concert! Tonight’s concert was rescheduled a couple of days due to illness, and I’m impressed at how well Charli performed after being so unwell.
I didn’t know who the support act was going to be until I arrived: it was a shock when I realised I knew who they were! Piri & Tommy are a Manchester based dance music duo who met online in 2021. Piri (real name Sophie McBurnie) was studying Chemistry at University at the time they met. Their first meeting was actually a date, and they started making music together straight away. Their sound is a fusion of disco, rave, and old school soft vocals. Two of their songs went viral on TikTok: ‘Words’ and ‘Soft Spot.’
Tonight they opened with ‘Words’ which got us all into the moment straight away. The pair were definitely happy that people in the audience recognised the song and were singing along. There were clearly some superfans in the audience as I could hear them singing without being able to see who it was!
The pair played their new song ‘On+On’ for the first time tonight, and it went down well. What I particularly enjoyed was the candid way Piri spoke to the audience. When she introduced songs she’d be upfront about what they were about, ranging from disgusting exes to finding love and comfort in a person effortlessly.
Overall, I loved their whole vibe, especially Piri’s little frog hat! Their chemistry together was very sweet and I’d like to see them at their own concert. The decision to have the pair as the support act was last minute and I am so glad they agreed to perform. Charli XCX herself said she is a fan: just one more reason to check their music out!
Piri & Tommy setlist:
‘On + On’
The big moment had arrived and it was time for Cambridge singer-songwriter Charlotte Aitchison aka Charli XCX to do her thing! Charli’s music is hard to categorise into one genre, bringing styles like synth pop, alternative pop, dance pop, and even pop punk. At fourteen she unofficially recorded an album which she uploaded to the social network Myspace. She was discovered through this and started performing at raves. Shortly afterwards her career took off. She now has five studio albums: ‘True Romance’ (2013), ‘Sucker’ (2014), ‘Charli’ (2019), ‘How I’m Feeling Now’ (2020), and ‘Crash’ (2022) which climbed to the top of the UK album charts.
Her success continues and she has won twenty-one music awards across her career. Charli XCX has recently been on tour and performed on the main stage at Reading and Leeds Festival during the August Bank Holiday. There’s no stopping her as she appeared in Brighton tonight.
When the lights went out the audience erupted into cheering. Charli sprung onto stage and opened with ‘Grins.’ The whole evening felt like a rave with all the flashing lights, dancing, and glittery outfits in the audience! The setlist tonight was an eclectic mix between old and new music. Playing some of her older songs tonight was clearly very sentimental, particularly ‘Stay Away.’ It was so sweet to hear her speak about how at the time she never imagined she’d be back at this venue as a headliner. She was last here on 24th March 2015 and performed an impressive 19 tune set which kicked off with ‘Sucker’ and concluded with ‘Boom Clap’. Watching her career blossom was lovely for us all to reflect on together tonight.
Charli’s 2019 self-titled album gave us classics such as ‘Next Level Charli’ and ‘Official’, both of which the crowd loved tonight. ‘Official’ was a great song choice as it changed the atmosphere from the extreme dance vibes to a more chill and very heartfelt moment. The song captures the ‘in between phase’ of being romantically involved with a person, where you aren’t sure when it will become an ‘official’ relationship, but you know it must be on the horizon. The bridge to the song is so beautiful and it was enjoyable to hear live.
Charli played three songs from her 2020 album ‘How I’m Feeling Now’. My personal favourite was ‘Party 4 U’. It had fun summery vibes and felt very relatable to a teenage and early twenties audience, reminiscing on those days when you’d have crushes and do anything to hang out with them!
Charli’s most recent tour centres around her 2022 album ‘Crash’, which she played four songs from. The atmosphere of the tour captured the spirit of the album. ‘Beg For You’ was an iconic performance, Charli really brought the energy and dance moves. It was a lot of fun and seeing how much she was enjoying herself made it even better.
I was surprised that Charli decided not to perform ‘Boys’ or ‘Boom Clap.’ I was excited to hear ‘Boom Clap’ live, a song written for the 2014 film ‘The Fault In Our Stars’ which I was a huge fan of as a teenager. She’s played it at other concerts previously, so I think it’s a sign I need to see her again!
The highlight of my night was ‘Vroom Vroom’. I adore the song and it was so much fun dancing along to it with all her lovely fans. Those who aren’t overly familiar with Charli XCX would probably recognise the tune as it’s been big on TikTok and has a distinctive sound. I was looking forward to hearing this song live and Charli did not disappoint. Her energy was off the chart! The enthusiasm she performed with all night was wonderful, I was exhausted from all my dancing, so I can only imagine how exhausted she must’ve been after giving a performance like that!
It is important to remember what these shows are about, which Charli herself acknowledged. The ‘Revive Live’ project is all about bringing large artists to grassroots venues that have suffered from the covid pandemic as a way to generate revenue and keep these wonderful spaces open. I adore the Concorde 2 as a venue. From a nostalgic perspective, it’s where I attended my first ever mosh pit concert when I was fifteen! In a practical sense, the staff are so caring which is so important, particularly in this heat. They distributed water effectively and kept everyone safe. We need to protect our music venues and all the memories they bring.
Overall, I had such a wonderful night. I felt so happy dancing with strangers and celebrating the power music has to unite us.
Charli XCX setlist:
‘Lock You Up’
‘Party 4 U’
‘I Got It’
‘Beg 4 U’
‘Hot In It’
‘Next Level Charli’
‘Sorry If I Hurt You’
LIKE WHAT WE DO? HELP US TO DO MORE OF IT BY DONATING HERE.
And don't forget to sign up to our email newsletter, bringing you the week's biggest stories every Thursday.