A Blood Transfusion from Charli XCX

By Annika GavlakMay 16, 2024

A Blood Transfusion from Charli XCX
CHARLI XCX PRESENTS CLUB ANGEL, Brain Dead Studios, Los Angeles, May 9, 2024.

Last Wednesday night, Los Angeles–based fans of Charli XCX received the same mass text. It read, “Just come in person … I’ll be there :)”—thereby clueing us in to an “exclusive members club for the most hardcore angels.” The event, hosted in anticipation of Charli’s upcoming album, Brat, would require in-person attendance somewhere in the city on Thursday, May 9.

And so I, a longtime fan, arrived at Brain Dead Studios near West Hollywood at precisely 2:02 p.m., about four hours before the first group would be allowed to enter. When I stepped out of my Uber, there were already 20 hardcore L.A. angels waiting around to secure their spots, all well prepped with survival essentials (blankets, speakers, snacks, Forbidden Apple BuzzBallz).

Charli XCX’s music attracts all types, from teenagers and DJs to freelancers and tattoo artists—all employed infrequently enough to wait outside for hours on a Thursday. The clock struck six as we filed into the venue. There, I joined yet another line to create a personalized Club Angel Membership card, complete with my government name, city of dwelling, and freshly taken ID photo. I’m not always the kind of fan to go for merch, but this was different. It wasn’t just Charli merch—it was Charli merch with my face on it.

We filled the theater, musing about the numbers on our cards. I was now angel #270. A fan sitting directly in front of me turned abruptly to ask where I had come from that day. “I called out of work for this,” they boasted. “Told them I was getting a blood transfusion.”

The time finally came for the main event: the “360” music video watch party. For her fourth single from Brat, Charli enlisted the help of Extremely Relevant Hot Girls and internet personalities including Rachel Sennott, Salem Mitchell, Julia Fox, Hunter Schafer, and Chloë Sevigny. The audience cheered throughout the video, jumping out of their seats for their favorite features and unexpected guest stars. When it was over, Charli’s voice echoed out over the theater; hundreds of little gay heads swiveled wildly, searching for the source like a congregation hearing the actual voice of God directly after the sermon. Her Majesty instructed us to sit tight and “pretty please” refrain from filming what was about to be shown next: the official “360” remix.

Shortly after, Charli XCX and “360” director Aidan Zamiri made their way to the stage. Neglecting to sit on the two folding chairs placed behind them, they stood for the duration of a short and sweet Q and A. As her stylist Chris Horan later confirmed on Instagram, Charli sported black Givenchy sunglasses paired with a lime-green vintage two-piece set from Alaïa 1991. (Her shades stayed on the whole night, as though removing them might expose her as human.)

Before exiting the venue—and facing the hundreds of fans still waiting eagerly for the chance to become part of Club Angel—I checked in with a woman from Charli’s team who told me the Brat posters that lined the theater walls weren’t for sale. A moment later, though, she disappeared briefly. She returned to hand me a bright green tube, whispering, “Don’t tell anyone.”

¤


Photo by contributor.

LARB Short Takes live event reviews are published in partnership with the nonprofit Online Journalism Project and the Independent Review Crew.

 

LARB Contributor

Annika Gavlak is a former America’s Got Talent contestant and private-school dropout from Los Angeles.

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