Review: Charli XCX packs true star quality at Manchester Academy 2

There’s little debating that Charli XCX has seen her profile rise drastically over the last year or so. Thanks to a handful of hit singles, a new album and impressive writing credits, she’s one of the most exciting women in the UK pop scene right now.

Charli XCX’s hand in Icona Pop’S UK number one single, I love it, and Iggy Azalea’s US chart-topper, Fancy, has made her name recognisable across the pond, as well as increasing her fan base here in the UK. If that wasn’t enough to show this girl means business, her UK tour in support of her critically acclaimed album, Sucker, has been an absolute smash hit, selling out across the UK.

Charli XCX live Oxford Tim Easton

So it’s no surprise that just shy of 1,000 people have crammed into Manchester Academy 2 to see her play live tonight. The energy is running high as Fancy is blared out through the speakers to get the crowd hyped, before a glittery angel clad (it took me at least 5 songs to make the Charlie’s Angels connection, duh!) backing band take to the stage.

The band wastes little time in letting the crowd settle in as they play the first chords of rebellious title track, Sucker, to which Charli comes bounding on to the stage. Straight away the crowd are hanging on every lyric as they’re instructed to raise their middle finger in the air and chant along to the song’s delightful chorus, ‘fuck you, sucker!’

Charli XCX live Oxford Tim Easton

The crowd’s energy shows no signs of wavering as the band rip through Breaking Up and, a track that seems to have been played in every night club for the last six months, I love it. After a brief pause to apologise for suffering from typical tour sickness, Charli and co power through her back catalogue with Superlove, Famous and Doing It keeping the crowd in high spirits. It’s on Stay Away where you can hear the strain in her voice, but, once again, the crowd back her all the way.

Charli XCX live Oxford Tim Easton

Boom Clap is left to close the show after an encore, bringing the night to the perfect sugar-coated finale. Despite the vocal issues tonight, Charli delivered an energetic performance from start to finish. Something tells me she’ll be back to wow Manchester music fans all over again soon.

Words: Kieron Keen

Don’t miss the full photo gallery from Photo Blogmaster Tim Easton.