There’s certain aspects of the Charly Bliss experience that become clearer in the live setting. This band is theatrical and campy on their new record Young Enough, for sure, but their sugar-based approach to the grunge-adjacent sound that marked their first record made more sense of where their new sonic leanings came from.
Having toured with PUP in the past, it’s clear that the band is of the same school wherein darkness and emo-influenced lyrical ideas are approached in a fun, musical way. More in the vein of The 1975, however, the band fluidly moves between different genres and eras, perhaps making the pop in pop-punk more literal. Whether it be pulling from the peak of 90’s alt-rock radio, or splashing in the big, cotton candy sounds out of the Sigrid and Lorde playbook, the band dons a variety of costumes to make their live show vivid and dynamic.
Eva Hendricks is a real highlight of the indie circuit at the moment. Bounding all around the stage with the most extravagant facial expressions possible, she delivers each line like it’s the last one she’s ever going to sing, and the rest of the band seem to thrive off her kinetic energy. Bassist Dan Shure and guitarist Spencer Fox, in particular, offered plenty of bass-face and high kicks to complement Hendricks’ highly theatrical energy, making their hour-long set fly by at 100 miles per hour. Luckily, they somehow saved enough room for an impassioned cover of 00’s classic “Mr. Brightside” during their encore–an unabashedly gleaming highlight of my year.
The show was very fun-forward, but there were some moments that served as a testament to Hendricks’ ability to explain relatable emotional ideas in a nuanced way. Most obvious was the drone based, “Hurt Me,” where her cresting vocal climax made lyrics about the disbelief that comes when a lover goes south hit home. “Young Enough,” on the other hand, proved itself to be one of the most enduring break-up songs in recent memory–perhaps part of the emotionally healthy “Thank You, Next” school of “I wish you the best and I cherish our memories” break-up tunes.
Self awareness is an important part of any artistic outing and though Bliss address important topics in their own unique way, they also luckily know that they are not too cool for The Killers. In the future, I’m sure they will continue to hone their lyrical and theatrical knife and offer catharsis without ever losing this fun-loving edge.