Live review: Charli XCX, YADi at ABC, 18/4/13

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Tonight there’s two fairly high profile acts in the same building, with returning hero and inspiration driving Edwyn Collins upstairs in the main hall lapping up the adoration of the masses, and downstairs the up and coming talent of potential hit machine Charli XCX.

The minor confusion of which desk to go to aside, entering the ABC for the first time in a while isn’t the smoothest experience, that £4.20 flat pint in a plastic container brings back forgettable memories and then you realise you’ve missed Miaoux Miaoux’s set cause of the ridiculously early start time and the lack of advertising of a touring support – possibly something to look into considering tonight is criminally under sold.

Arriving around 7:45 you’re lucky if there are 30 people in the venue, a line of eager youngsters on the barrier and few others scattered elsewhere, however this does not prove deterrence to touring support YADi whose bass drum heavy electronic pop should have a dancefloor moving.

The London singer, who has shared production with tonight’s headliner, doesn’t let the quiet venue get to her as she dances away appreciating she’s on the way up and is still pretty much unheard of in Glasgow, commenting half way through that they seem to have a second row at the barrier and encouraging others up.

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The live set may not be the most convincing, just her vocals with a live drummer means that a plethora of samples have to be used, but she’s not without her charms and by the mid way point she has a few people dancing and surely more will look her up after the show.

This is Charli XCX’s first headline show in Glasgow and from the way the hundred or so now in attendance talk of her she seems to have a small but loyal fanbase, but such are the qualities of her tracks and performance that we are sure to see this rise to massive levels.

Her fanbase may range from youngsters who’re eagerly coming to see a star in the making (she’s pals with Marina and the Diamonds and it’s easy to see her surpassing their level of fame), to hipsters coming to say they’ve see her first after reading her reviews on Pitchfork or hearing her on HBO’s Girls, but Charli seems just up for having fun.

She’s just young after all, even though she’s had releases kicking about for nearly five years now she’s still only 20, but her songs display that youthful exuberance without becoming generic.

From the dark dirty synths of ‘Nuclear Seasons’ to at times almost 80s new wave she seems capable of crafting any number of electronic pop dance floor fillers. Live the synths take a slight back step to allow for beats and her vocal to take the floor resulting in a high octane, totally addictive dance floor filling set.

The set is reasonably short, only 35 minutes and we’re cleared out well before Edwyn Collins’ congratulatory masses leave the upstairs venue, but Charli finishes the set on a high with her best known track, albeit not one that she is the main recording artist on but she did write and feature on, in Icona Pop’s massively catchy and infectious hit ‘I Love It’, which sees many in attendance screaming along and jumping around without abandon.

Charli XCX may not be a star yet, but if she stays on the same projectorary she’s on her way, next time we may see her not only upstairs in this same venue but quite possibly selling the place out.

Words: Iain Dawson
Photos: Beth Chalmers

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