The extreme ups and downs of Clairo’s ‘The Sling Tour’

The cool air of a crisp Saturday did not hinder fans from flooding into the Greek Theatre for the promise of serene sounds of opener Arlo Parks and headliner Clairo in the amphitheater setup. 

Donning everything from  Doc Martens to indie-esque long skirts to distressed tops, the best dressed — and most yassified — in Los Angeles were present at the theater awaiting the indie icon.

Before Clairo took the stage, Arlo Parks, a queer British songwriter who has made waves in the U.K. charts, hyped up the crowd with her upbeat sound and poetic lyricism that left me a fan. One of the most notable songs was “Caroline,” where her lyrics read “Strawberry cheeks flushed with defeated rage.” Considering Parks prides herself in also being a poet, sitting back, enjoying the music and swaying in a seat was the best circumstance to be in on Saturday night.

Following Parks, Clairo took the stage, starting off with a slow song that is fairly well-known, “Bambi.” This was followed by a couple of other slower tracks that kept the crowd content but eagerly awaiting a faster melody to get up and enjoy. 

Wishes were granted when the intro of “Bags” began to play, although it was unfortunately followed yet again with a pair of sad songs Clairo noted as being a patch in the setlist “we can get through together” as she spoke to the audience.

Ahead of any concert, almost every attendee follows the same routine of Googling the setlist and listening to an artist’s entire discography. But while at the concert, it was unclear if it was Clairo’s odd setlist or an unknowing crowd that made for an awkward time in the middle of the performance where everyone was just sitting, talking and enjoying the music; almost like background noise to a chill night. Unlike other concerts where fans scream at the top of their lungs to every song, the ambience of the crowd was more laid-back, leaving concert goers’ spirits unfulfilled.

For fans in the pit, every song was “shout at the top of your lungs” worthy, but it almost seemed like that wasn’t what this concert was supposed to be. Rather, Clairo seemed to have purposefully created a two-hour set of live music for an audience to passively consume. 

Back to the event, “Nomad,” a folksy, upbeat tune, definitely captured the attention of the crowd. Clairo boasted that this was particularly special to perform in L.A. since this was the only night she played in the city, especially considering how the coronavirus hindered tours from happening for the past few years. This, in conjunction with the fact that the song has yet to have a release date, made the crowd feel even more special upon hearing the unreleased track. The appeal of “Nomad” could surely reach non-listeners and leave new fans patiently awaiting its debut after getting a sneak peak of it with the L.A. crowd.

Prior to the concert, every fan was given a neon pink sticky note to place on their phone flashlights when the song “Blouse” came on. At first, some were confused at the task, but it was quite the sight to see the pink fluorescence across the audience and the swaying bodies of an entire theater at the dynamic duo of Parks and Clairo. The song quickly stood out as a fan favorite of the night. 

Of course, the concert could not have ended without Clairo’s two most-known songs — from TikTok and other social platforms — “Pretty Girl” and “Sofia.” 

Everyone anxiously stood up once the intro to “Pretty Girl” began, waiting to sing along and record the chorus to post on social media. With both songs being uplifting and fast paced, as well as fairly well-known, Clairo’s choice to sing them last was a great way to end the night on a high note. 

And the night can’t be rated without taking into consideration the sick saxophone solo in “Sofia” that left the crowd in awe. The use of instruments that are not usually present in concerts, like the saxophone and flute, was something so unique and engaging to see because listening to cool beats and instrumental hymns is what live music is all about. 

The overall concert had many ups and downs, with an equal amount of periods of slowed passive sounds to fast-paced, dance-worthy music.

It was a night to remember for many audience members, and an emotional night for Clairo, who teared up in awe and admitted to being a bit “overwhelmed” by the warm reception of the Angeleno crowd. Even if some audience members left knowing they will not return to an encore concert, attending at least one Clairo concert makes for a perfect check on a bucket list of memorable nights of great music and even more impeccable vibes. 

Rating: 3/5