CHARLY BLISS with Emily Reo at The Crocodile
June 22, 2019
Words by Aarin Wright, Photos by Marcus Shriver
I selected a velvet scrunchie and rainbow face glitter for the Charly Bliss show on June 22 and was pleased to be overwhelmingly not alone.
The packed house at The Crocodile was sporting all variations of “cool,” from ‘90s hair accessories to clear frame glasses, sparkling highlighters and bold purple lips. The perfect compliment to the four-piece Brooklyn band, a vision in coordinating white denim and tees, with frontwoman Eva Hendricks rocking a poofed-out mermaid-ballerina tutu and a shock of pink eyeshadow. A gold streamer backdrop completed the picturesque bubblegum pop punk prom.
The first robust notes of synth and driving bass drum immediately left the world of high school dances in the dust. As Charly Bliss rocketed into “Blown to Bits,” the crowd started to jump with every down beat, collectively entering a new atmosphere for the next hour and a half.
Hendricks’ squeaky pristine and piercing vocals were our guide, as they soared through every high note and hyperbolic lyric of the band’s past two albums — 2017’s garage-pop debut Guppy, and this year’s darker-yet-sparklier follow up, Young Enough. It’s hard to imagine her anywhere but the stage, as she rabidly bounced through guitar solos, sprinted between the synth and lead vocal mics, and ecstatically addressed the audience during every track break.
“Are you all having fun?” she asked twice.
“Fun” is an understated way to describe what Charly Bliss appeared to be experiencing. On lead single “Capacity,” a bumping fuzzy pop gem of twenty-somethings social commentary, Hendricks stretched her arms wide as if bursting at the seams with sound. Immediately after she shielded her face in her hands, visibly moved by the roaring approval.
Fellow Brooklyn-based artist Emily Reo warmed the crowd up with a set of crunchy harmonic synth-pop songs, with themes ranging from dead cats to street harassment. Most notable were her keytar solos, which received audible gasps and loud cries for more.
Communal gratitude could be felt pouring from the stage as Charly Bliss continuously thanked Reo for opening the show, their Seattle-based label Barsuk Records, local station KEXP for airtime, and the throngs of people who purchased tickets.
Addressing the vulnerability revealed in the tracks of Young Enough, Hendricks appeared oddly shy in comparison to moments before. However, she quickly returned to quiet confidence as she stood free of an instrument for the first time to deliver the intimately powerful “Hurt Me,” accompanied by brother Sam Hendricks on keys. The whole band stood on one plane, a united front of support and camaraderie.
Quick to return to upbeat and bittersweet, Charly Bliss finished their set with a disco ball dance party to “Chatroom,” only to return moments later for a thunderous encore, paying tribute to The Killers’ “Mr. Brightside” and closing out with Young Enough’s final track, “The Truth.” Waving goodbye they floated off-stage, still stuck in zero gravity, as the crowd left the building buzzing and high, sure to not touch ground for many hours later.
- Blown to Bits
- Under You
- Fighting in the Dark
- Young Enough
- Black Hole
- Hurt Me
- Hard to Believe
- ENCORE: Mr. Brightside by The Killers
- ENCORE: The Truth
Check out more of Marcus’s photos from this show in the album on our Flickr page.