February 19, 2022
An unusually temperate February evening and a sold-out Fillmore crowd makes quite a warm welcome for any touring artist, but thousands of fans made Wednesday night one to remember for both Clairo and Arlo Parks. The show marked the kickoff for Clairo’s North American headlining tour in support of her new album, Sling. It was also her first venue show in nearly two years, and Charlotte listeners rose to the occasion to make her return to the stage triumphant.
As the block-long admittance line slowly dwindled, fans anxiously shuffled through the doors of the Fillmore and found their space on the floor just in time to watch the enigmatic Arlo Parks take the stage with her band in tow. She addressed the crowd with her unmistakable soft-spoken tone and was met with uproarious applause before launching into her set.
While Parks kept her setlist short and sweet, she made sure to pack in plenty of fan favorites, including “Caroline” and “Too Good” from her breakout 2021 record, Collapsed In Sunbeams. Shirking elaborate stage pageantry and an intricate lighting display, Arlo’s performance featured a far more nuanced set design, allowing the Grammy-nominated phenom to shift the focus to her poetic lyricism and the air-tight performance from her band.
With the audience satisfied, Arlo Parks took her leave. Once the house lights came up again, the energy of the room grew fervorous as young fans pushed closer to the stage, packing into every free inch of space available. Before long, another roar of applause as Clairo took her seat in front of her piano, donned in a sleek black suit and backed by a shocking amount of band members.
For longtime Clairo fans and new listeners alike, the sight of a seven-piece band at the ready to play the soft, stripped-down bedroom-pop songs must’ve come as an unexpected surprise. However, if there were any doubts over how those songs would translate to an expanded lineup, they were instantly alleviated as Clairo started her set with three songs from her new album.
The cheers rained down on the crowded stage as Clairo and her band moved from “Bambi” into “Zinnias” then into “Wade” with graceful transitions, the band yielding plenty of room for Clario’s voice to shine. For most of the set, Clairo maintained an effortless clarity, although softer songs like “Just for Today” felt slightly muddled by the extra instrumentation. Even if it didn’t go off without a hitch, Clairo’s decision to develop her live sound in such a dramatic way is indicative of her growth, and fans can look forward to the new dynamic only getting tighter as she and her band find their footing.
By the end of the set, Clairo had burned through her entire new record, a brand new song (“Nomad”), and some of her older hits, such as “Softly,” “Pretty Girl,” and “Sofia,” all of which were met with an ecstatic crowd reaction.
“Just for Today”