Concert Review : Charli XCX Brings ‘Brat’ to Brooklyn — Along With Lorde, Matty Healy and More — in a Blaze of Beats and Eye-Blasting Lights

If there was one place to be in New York on Tuesday night, it was Charli XCX’s show at Brooklyn’s newly reopened and spectacularly renovated 1920s-era Paramount Theater

Published Time: 12.06.2024 - 19:31:29 Modified Time: 12.06.2024 - 19:31:29

If there was one place to be in New York on Tuesday night, it was Charli XCX’s show at Brooklyn’s newly reopened and spectacularly renovated 1920s-era Paramount Theater. Matty Healy and his girlfriend Gabriette Bechtel (who chose the occasion to apparently announce their engagement) were in the house, as were Lorde, Julia Fox, Lily Allen and probably other luminaries.

But it’s hard to imagine how anyone noticed, because the concert —with blasting beats, an eye-popping light show and an equally eye-popping audience —was such a gloriously multi-sensory overload that Madonna could have popped up in front of us and we would have just moved aside for a better view.

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The seven-date, time-zone-hopping promo tour in support of Charli’s stellar just-released album “Brat” — which sees her performing almost the entire album —was something we’d ordinarily call a club show: Although the itinerary specifies four dates, including this one, as “live” and three as “party girl,” her lead vocals, sung to backing tracks, were the only live musical element on this night. But her real accompanists were the electrifying light show, which was perfectly synched with the music for maximum sensory impact, and most of all the crowd, which showed up in extravagant fashion on this beautiful almost-summer night.

It was a day-glo rainbow coalition of tank tops, short shorts, boots, fishnet, glitter, brightly dyed hair, mustaches and dark makeup, speckled with countless outfits in the shade of hazard-waste green featured on the “Brat” album cover. Best of all were the home-made T-shirts: Countless words and declarations in the “Brat” font, including a puzzling series featuring album titles by other artists, like Lorde’s “Melodrama” and the hybrid variation “Vampire Weekend” / “Only BRAT Was Above Us” (Troye Sivan’s entire catalog was probably out there somewhere). It made for an avalanche of messaging as you moved through the crowd: “I heart girls,” “I heart boys,” “I heart hot dads,” “Move — I’m gay,” &ld -

quo;Three deep in butch twinks,” and best of all, “I was straight, but then Charli XCX saved me.”

The palatial Paramount was turned into a senses-searing nightclub as Charli performed on a stage that was basically a giant lighting rig: five horizontal, halogen-bright tiers of lights (bottom of stage, mid-stage, three overhead levels) with vertical stacks on either side that swooped out over the crowd in menacing synchronized sweeps, pulsating with the beats as hundreds of people sang along with every word to songs that were released less than a week ago. “Did you all know that New York is my favorite place to play?,” she shouted mid-show, and the fervent adulation of her crowd made it impossible not to see why.

Charli strutted through 17 on the 18 songs on “Brat” and a pair from 2017’s “Pop 2” mixtape as she flipped her hair, punched the air and rocked her trademark hip-pumping moves, with the energy peaking during a pulverizing performance of the album’s first single, “Von Dutch.” As the set wound toward its end she dipped back into the recent past with “1999” and “Speed Drive,” before taking it way back with a rousing version of the first smash she ever wrote, Icona Pop’s 2013 smash “I Love It,” and closed with the album-ending “365.” Presumably Charli’s fall tour with Troye Sivan will be a more conventional, career-spanning concert, but it’s going to be tough to top this one for excitement.

The sweaty and satiated crowd flooded out into the warm night and confabbed in front of the theater, causing little disturbance amid the noisy almost-highway of Flatbush Avenue as a couple hundred Party Girls of all persuasions danced around a portable speaker blasting “Brat.” It’s shaping up to be a summer of espresso, Chappell and Charli.

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