Performing to a star-studded crowd at Lafayette, Charli XCX's sold-out, final date on her intimate how i'm feeling now tour is a euphoric celebration of her Mercury-nominated album and her fans who helped make it.
A monumental, high octane last hurrah for the record she made in just six weeks at the beginning of the pandemic, XCX's appearance at the King's Cross venue marks her first London show since Halloween 2019 and her Brixton Academy headline show.
Blasting through her party-ready anthems, it's cathartic to hear the isolation-made tracks brought to life in a room packed with adoring fans screaming back every word. A commanding presence, XCX appears solo on the tiny stage with the sweaty mass of writhing angels close enough for her to reach, grabbing hands and serenading them.
Highlights include the industrial-tinged album opener "pink diamond", singles "claws" and "forever" and "party 4 u". SOPHIE-produced staple "Vroom Vroom" also gets an airing as part of the final encore.
XCX's ethos is highly collaborative, as demonstrated on her previous album Charli which boasted appearances from Christine and the Queens, Troye Sivan and Lizzo, and while how i'm feeling now didn't come with special guests attached, she had some extra special collaborators help her out. Opening up her creative process to her fandom XCX created a unique experience where they provided real-time feedback online directly over Zoom and a series of Instagram live broadcasts where she shared previews and teasers.
Before rolling out "new bop" and set closer "Good Ones", XCX takes a rare moment to directly address the room. "Thank you for helping me make how i'm feeling now during the pandemic," she says amid screams of "I love you," "you gave me so many ideas and so much fucking confidence to make this record... I'd be shit without you."
Testament to the community she's created and her influence in the industry, frequent collaborators A.G. Cook and Caroline Polachek were in attendance along with a gaggle of boundary-pushing heavyweights including Arca, Dev Hynes, Danny L Harle, Sega Bodega, Yeule, PinkPantheress, Mura Masa, Alaska Reid, Vegyn and Ariel Rechtshaid.
If any live show was going to feel like a return to life before social distancing, mask-wearing and government-enforced lockdowns it was this one. From their inception, these songs have always promised to be explosive in this setting and they do not disappoint.
XCX's next London show will likely be in front of thousands instead of just hundreds of people, but the feeling of connectedness and joy is sure to remain.