Carly Rae Jepsen played her first ever UK headline show last night at the Islington Assembly Hall. We headed down to the gig and here’s what we learnt.
Words: Matt Hooper, Subeditor: Aminah Mughal
1. Run Away With Me is the most perfect gig opener ever.
Well, that’s not the first thing we learnt exactly. We first learnt that Carly is a prompt popstar, arriving on stage on time (not before Demi Lovato’s Cool For The Summer blasted around the venue). The opening number was Run Away With Me, which was the second single from E•MO•TION. It’s a risky strategy opening with one of your best songs (it’d work well as an encore too), but Run Away With Me perfectly set the tone for the evening. Carly wanted us to get lost in her music, and to do that, we’d need to run away with her (not literally; the queue for the cloakroom was twenty minutes long at the end of the night).
2. Carly’s look is actually goals.
We’re not going to lie, when Carly cut her hair into a bob earlier this year, we were not convinced. Couple that with the rainbow jumper she wore on the album cover and the yellow suit she wore at G-A-Y and we were desperate to sack her stylist. Tonight though, she wore a silk shirt, a suit blazer and high-waisted shorts. She reminded us of that emo kid at prom. One of our friends described the look as “a 90s travel agent”. We were into it though, and we’re totally making it our 2016 aesthetic *bulk buys pin-stripe suits*.
3. Warm Blood sounds like having a crush on someone…
Carly’s comfort zone is very much in up-tempo bangers, but one of the (many) highlights on E•MO•TION is the mid-tempo Warm Blood. The track also provided one of the more intimate moments of the night, acting as the perfect change of pace after the anthemic Making The Most Of The Night. The track itself is about starting to fall for someone, and how Carly would “throw in the towel” for a boy. There were many moments during the evening where it felt like Carly and the audience were all on a wavelength, and this was one of them.
4. …and Your Type sounds like the moment when you realise that your crush doesn’t like you back.
The obvious standout from the album is third single Your Type, an electro-ballad made for crying at the disco too. It was the singalong moment of the night, with every single person around us yelling along. The track itself perfectly encompasses that feeling when you find out that you’re “not the type of girl” for your crush. Judging from the crowds reaction (there were a few people close to tears), we reckon she’s perfectly captured those feels. We were close to tears too, but we started dancing with a random lady next to us and it was great.
5. Being a fan of Carly Rae Jepsen is like being part of a cult.
Despite having one of the most recognisable songs of the decade with Call Me Maybe, Carly has struggled commercially of late. E•MO•TION peaked at 21 here in the UK, and spent just a week in the Top 40. But, to a small section of music fans, this is easily the best album of the year. Everyone at the gig knew the words to every last song, and everyone was dancing full-out to every single song. There wasn’t a lull in the energy throughout the gig, and the crowd were more than happy to chat to each other (which may have been because everyone kinda knew everyone).
6. Carly needs to up her merch game
One of the best things about gigs is amazing t-shirts. Ariana Grande had a t-shirt with an anime version of her shooting rockets from her chest, for example. So imagine our excitement at the thought of wearing a Jeppo t-shirt for the rest of time. But no, the only t-shirt they had was a cartoon pop art version of her, which looked like it was made on paint. Taped to a glass lift, it’s no surprise that there wasn’t hordes of people throwing cash at the sole merch seller. To be honest, Carly should just sell these amazing jumpers:
— Carly Rae Jepsen (@carlyraejepsen) November 11, 2015
7. Sia and Carly need to work together more.
“I think I broke up with my boyfriend today and I don’t really care, I’ve got worse problems,” Carly sings on the infectious Boy Problems. Co-penned by Sia, the pair may have written the best lyric of all time. Not only that, but the pair also wrote Making The Most Of The Night, a song which manages to use the word ‘hijack’ in a lyric and it not sound clunky. With the news today that Sia hated working with Katy Perry, perhaps she should use any future sessions with her to write with Carly some more.
8. Carly deserved some Grammy nominations.
It was expected that Carly would get some nominations at The Grammys 2016. Although it wasn’t a commercial hit, the album has an indie edge that should appeal to critics. The nominations were announced yesterday, and she didn’t get a single one. She may have been snubbed in favour of Taylor Swift (E•MO•TION is a better version of 1989), but last night’s gig proved how strong the album is. It was one of those gigs where just when you think you’ve heard your favourite song, she sings something better straight after.
9. She hates Christmas.
CARLY RAE JEPSEN JUST WORE MY HAT ON STAGE pic.twitter.com/xe1LeHQEf4
— Rhys (@rhysrmann) December 7, 2015
Ok so this may not be true. She did, after all, do the end of her set wearing a flashing Santa hat that a fan threw on stage. But still, she didn’t do her version of Last Christmas. The version is incredible, giving the already uber-80s song an 80s makeover. With it being literally a few weeks until Christmas, it was expected that Jeppo would sing her version. She didn’t though, instead opting for an acoustic version of Curiosity. Speaking of songs from first album Kiss, she did Tiny Little Bows and it was otherworldly.
10. Call Me Maybe still hits hard.
The song that made Carly Rae Jepsen (and arguably stopped her having any more success due to its ubiquity), Call Me Maybe still sounds as great now as it did back when it was first released. It had everyone dancing, including the people on the balcony. The sucker-punch of it and I Really Like You was a stellar way to end an already incredible gig. She might not have the commercial success that she had post-Call Me Maybe, but this cult stardom suits Carly perfectly.