When NME announced the line up of artists playing as part of their traditional awards shows Charli XCX at The Lexington was one that stood out. The fact that the support was from both Mz Bratt and Icona Pop made the evening more appealing. I arrived at the at the pub about 30 minutes before the doors opened. For those who have never been to The Lexington before, there is hardly a queue for any gig taking place there. Doors opened slightly later than the intended 7pm. When the time did come to letting people upstairs, very few were in attendance for the opening set by Mz Bratt which was a real shame. I had never witnessed her play live but I do remember I had wanted to catch Mz Bratt play at The Great Escape but alas it clashed with something else. Cleopatra Humphrey (Mz Bratt) was the queen of Grime and was joined onstage by Clencha. Even though Grime music isn’t something I would listen to, I was rather impressed with what was sung on the night. There was bundles of energy and plenty of passion put into every song. The final two songs to feature on the night were Rocket Launcher and Selecta. Both were amazing tunes and honestly it left me wanting to hear more from her. With three mix tapes to her name and an appearance on last years Children In Need single, surely it can’t be that long until the début album drops?
Swedish duo Caroline Hjelt and Aino Jawo are Icona Pop. They are well worth watching out for in 2012 because they have been a firm favourite of mine since last year. Having them as support for Charli XCX made this gig even more appealing. It was around 8.45pm when they both took to the stage. The only drawback to this support slot was the set was WAY too short. The fact they only performed 4 songs was disappointing but their brand of Bubble Gum Synth Pop was enough to satisfy me. Kicking off the set was Sun Goes Down which featured on the Nights Like This EP. The song had infectious lyrics and wonderful hooks. It was then straight into Still Don’t Know which had an amazing energetic chorus. “How are you? We’re so happy to be here. We’re Icona Pop by the way” Hjelt then said to the intimate audience. The penultimate song on the night was the danceable Manners. I found this tune to be rather smooth with a chorus you feel the need to sing along too. “So now we’re going to play our last song” Hjelt said to the audience before launching into Top Rated. This was released as an AA single with Manners early last year. I found Top Rated to be rather infectious and had everything you would expect from a pop song.
Sun Goes Down
Still Don’t Know
After Icona Pop had finished their short but sweet set it was then onto a rather lengthy changeover. Like the last time plenty of VHS tape was swamping the floor. The set kicked off with beautiful ballad Stay Away. This song was slow in pace and had some short raps. I found it to be rather smooth and it showed off Charli’s beautiful vocal range. “Thankyou very much, I’m Charli XCX” she then said to the intimate audience before launching into Nuclear Seasons. This was one huge pop song which oozed bundles of energy. The drumbeat was extremely powerful and the lyrics were rather infectious. After a rapturous applause it was then into the forthcoming single You’re The One. I reckon this will do well once it is physically released. You’re The One was an infectious song plus the chorus was really slushy. I was captivated from beginning to end and this has to feature on the début album. Once over it was straight into How Can I. This steady paced song was sublime and it was delivered to perfection. It was then into another newie and this being Wires. This song had a steady pace and Charli delivered a faultless performance. Whilst the lyrics were amazing there were no catchy hooks to entice the listener. “Thankyou very much. This next song is called Feel My Pain” Charli said before launching into the song. It was a passionate performance of Feel My Pain and Charli put every ounce of energy into this wonderful song. Once over it was then into You. This was an upbeat song with lyrics that were delivered powerfully. There was in fact an electro vibe as well. “This is my last song. Thankyou so much for coming. This is called End Of The World” Charli said before bringing the evening to a close. End Of The World was an Alex Metric song which Charli featured on. Still it was sung perfection and this track actually had a dub step vibe to it. I would love to see this song feature on the forthcoming album but I have a gut feeling it wont. Once over she then made her exit only to return moments later as there was a lot of applause for more. “We’re going to do one more” Charli said as soon as she graced the stage again. The choice of encore song was Mess. Other than being really infectious this song had a furious pace and capped off one outstanding evening.
You’re The One
How Can I
Feel My Pain
End Of The World
OVERALL: This was a brilliant night which featured three amazing acts. I predict all 3 will be massive by the end of 2012 and I for one cannot wait to hear the albums. As for Charli XCX I love her own brand of Goth Pop she had some rather infectious songs.