Pop star Charli XCX played ringleader during her show at Los Angeles’ El Rey on Thursday night (March 15), tapping a long list of collaborators and friends to celebrate the release of her Dec. 2017 mixtape Pop 2.
The artists in her rolodex who hit the stage were plenty: Tove Lo, Carly Rae Jepsen, Brooke Candy, Bibi Bourelly, Mykki Blanco and Dorian Electra, as well as PC Music’s A.G. Cook who manned the decks throughout the hour-long show. From the back of the venue, musicians including Diplo, Ariel Reichstad and Pentatonix‘s Scott Hoying watched as Charli swung from song to song, giving her guests stage time of their own as she transitioned from one costume to the next backstage.
Tove Lo set off the evening with their Pop 2 collaboration “Out of My Head,” which also features ALMA, welcoming Charli to the festivities and segueing into her solo single “Disco Tits.” “What’s up!” Charli told the teeming crowd. “This is Pop 2!”
She stuck mainly to the aerobic tunes on the tape, a 10-track take on pop that expands and distorts the conventions of the genre, as well as revived last year’s knocking “Boys,” bringing out a coterie of men in matching-white ensembles — a theme for all artists who hit the stage. It was at times rowdy: As she sung alongside Brooke Candy for “I Got It” (also featuring CupcakKe and Pabllo Vittar), Charli dove into the audience and crowdsurfed.
“L.A., this is fucking special right now,” said Charli, who got the strongest reaction when Jepsen joined her for “Backseat” as well as her own 2017 single “Cut to the Feeling.” All the guests congregated around Charli at the night’s end, capped by a rousing rendition of her unreleased Sophie-helmed “Girls Night Out” — a fitting conclusion.
Charli plans to bring her Pop 2 extravaganza to New York City on March 18 at Elsewhere in Brooklyn. Listen to Pop 2 below.