Charli XCX and Bleachers bring star power to the Fillmore

Saturday, August 15, 2015 - 4:36pm

You probably know Charli XCX as that girl on “Fancy” with Iggy Azalea, or that girl on “I Love It” with Icona Pop or lastly, that girl who sings that song from “The Fault in Our Stars.” If you know Bleachers, you probably know them as the band behind the uber-catchy “I Wanna Get Better.” However, if you were in attendance at The Fillmore this past monday, you know them as two up-and-coming rock stars who are likely to heavily influence the next generation of rock ‘n’ roll.

<strong>Bleachers</strong> frontman Jack Antonoff, former guitarist of Fun., brought the crowd to life with their set-opener “Like A River Runs.” As the lights came down on “When I fall asleep I can see your face / what I lost in you I will not replace,“ the crowd’s energy sky-rocketed to meet Antonoff’s charisma. The most notable aspect of Bleacher’s set was the vast difference between their sound on record and their sound live. Their debut LP <em>Strange Desire</em> is a solid indie pop-rock record categorized by soaring choruses and danceable chord progressions. Conversely, their live presence is an in-your-face rock show. At times it can make your ears hurt, but you don’t care. Backed by two guitars, two drums and the on-and-off saxophone, Antonoff’s energy was needed at times, often prompting crowd participation when it wasn’t exactly sure what he wanted in return. However, his boyish charm and clear exuberance while performing defined their set.

Tracks “Shadow,” “Wild Heart” and “Rollercoaster,” all from <em>Strange Desire</em>, came alive during their set. Catchy choruses invited crowds to sing every rendition once they got it down. Antonoff’s stage presence during these tracks furthered audience adoration. He jumped, he screamed, he tripped. For a moment, the set slowed as he crooned the phrase “Shadow of the City” several times. It seemed as though it was time for a slow ballad, but moments after “Shadow of the City” was introduced as a new, still-unreleased song, the room exploded with rhythm: something along the lines of rocking jazz or jazzy rock.

Finally, after many headbangs, trips, guitar solos and one guitar/saxophone battle, Bleachers burst into their biggest hit “I Wanna Get Better” to close their set. The lights were bright and the fans were loud and by the time the lights went out, everyone in the room was a Bleachers fan.

Half an hour later, <strong>Charli XCX</strong>’s pink middle finger curtain was released and it quickly dropped on the first beat of “Sucker,” the title track of her overwhelmingly underrated sophomore album. In short athletic shorts, a crop top, sunglasses and hair in barrettes, Charli oozed I-don’t-give-a-fuck-ness, only to be confirmed by the screaming of “Fuck you, sucker” accompanied by a plethora of middle fingers. Every one of Charli’s tracks is pure pop-rock catch from beginning to end. Whether it’s screaming “JFK” and ‘Oi” during “London Queen” or the sensual movements during her self-love anthem “Body of my Own,” Charli owns the stage, the crowd and herself throughout the show. 

She paid homage to her features on “Fancy” and “I Love It” to the nth degree, going as far as rapping Iggy and Icona’s versus, treating fans to these songs in their entireties. She also introduced her duet with Rita Ora “Doing It” as her favorite song. <em>Same.</em> Without the lollygagging of typical pop shows it felt as though she was only on stage for a moment before she rolled into her finale: “Boom Clap.” The bass boomed and the crowd clapped while Charli glided through the vocals closing out a memorable show.

Jack Antonoff and Charli XCX seem to be in a sweet spot on their respective careers. Antonoff has the experience and range of Fun. and now can use that to front his own band with its own unique sound. Charli has the hits (as featured), so she is known by name, but still has carte blanche to do what she would like (such as leading a “Pussy Power” chant) without getting any shit for it. As made evident by their live show, it’s just the beginning for Bleachers and Charli XCX.