“Charli is a visionary!” an admirer breathlessly yelped between cigarette drags on Great Scott’s patio. This was a few minutes after everyone realized the Charli she was referring to — CHARLI XCX, a 20-year-old Britainer on her way to becoming this generation’s Cyndi Lauper — wasn’t going to play an encore. But that was okay. You didn’t have to listen hard to overhear comments along the same lines as the “visionary” declaration. Were people wowed, you wonder? They were totally wowed.
“Visionary” might be a stretch, but everyone understands the Cyndi Lauper comparison is meant to be a big positive thing, right? Icona Pop’s “I Love It” — which XCX co-wrote and deployed during the show, blasting the roof into an alternate dimension in the process — already claimed the title of 2012’s answer to “Girls Just Want To Have Fun.” So there y’go.
Anyway, a handful of audience members were noticeably soggy and fatigued. Perhaps they ran five miles and poured buckets of water on themselves that afternoon. Maybe they spent the day at Boston Calling. I didn’t ask any of them, so who knows? Apparently a different handful of audience members were Marina & the Diamonds who our sources have confirmed were definitely present at Boston Calling.
Apart from the Icona Pop jam, XCX’s set stuck to tracks from her sort of debut True Romance — a crucial reminder that a record can embrace bubblegum’s synthetic sparkle and uncomplicated matters of the heart (and loins) without resorting to vapidity. Live drums and keys held down the instrumental side of business while XCX serenaded, slithered, and busted the occasional rhyme with an intensity normally displayed by performers of much heavier music.
Only complaint: This one couple standing directly in front of me were drowning in each other’s saliva as if they had met 10 minutes ago while bumping lines of pure MDMA. Total yuck.
Significantly less disgusting were local boys Animal Talk, who helped warm up the crowd (literally, in the case of Boston Calling transplants) with a workmanlike offering of dancey-ish, post-punk-ish rock that lots of white college kids can enjoy. They were pretty good! Here’s a clip of them getting funkier than usual with a reimagining of Ginuwine’s “Pony.”