Charli XCX Drops Perfect Pop (and Kitty Pryde Cancels) at The Garret

Rarely do you get to witness someone at the very beginning of their meteoric rise. Last time we probably got to see this was when Crystal Castles played small shows at Churchill's Pub and Pawn Shop before hitting it big. Or when Justice was just a couple of French dudes who came to Miami to spin during Winter Music Conference.

But if we were placing all our chips on an artists with the most potential to blow up in 2013, it would definitely be Charli XCX.

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-Photos: Charli XCX at the Garret at Grand Central

At only 20 years old, she still has a long career ahead of her. And while acts that have been pushed into the limelight thanks to interweb hype don't always make it big (see Uffie, Kid Sister, Amanda Blank), Charli seems to know that she needs to bring her very best while everyone is paying attention to her.

Saturday's performance at the Garret at Grand Central showed that even in an intimate setting and small crowd of perhaps 100 people, she can easily get everyone to dance and sing along.

The show was supposed to feature an opening set by Daytona Beach's Kitty Pryde, but she pulled out a day before the show, tweeting that she was heading back to New York, where she currently lives. We asked reps at Grand Central if there was any particular reason, but they seemed just as stunned as us about Pryde's sudden absence. We wonder if any of the bad press surrounding her live shows have anything to do with it. But honestly, we were looking forward to seeing her live. Maybe some other time.

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- Charli XCX Talks Pop: "I Never Wanted to Write a Hipster Record"

Charli took the stage around 1:30 a.m. (fucking Miami show times), delivering cuts from her phenomenal debut True Romance. "Nuclear Seasons" exploded over the crowd with its witch house-y vibe, while the "What I Like" provided a nice bounce to the night. Unfortunately, tracks like "You (Ha Ha Ha)" didn't seem to translate well live. The Gold Panda sample, which really provides the track its punch, was buried in the live sound.

Still, when the live performance hit the right notes, Charli seemed unstoppable. Our personal highlights were the unapologetic Euro-poppiness of "Take My Hand" and an amazing cover of Backstreet Boys' "I Want It That Way." The cover surpassed the original in so many different ways -- the delivery, the pacing, the vocals. If Charli had released the song instead of the Boys, we're sure it would have scored its own special place in pop music's pantheon.

As she closed out the show with her own version of Icona Pop's "I Love It," a track that was penned by Charli, we were left extra excited to see where her career will take her.

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