Charly Bliss at New Parish, Oakland – June 24, 2019

Charly Bliss at the New Parish

Charly Bliss at the New Parish

Charly Bliss had kind of been on my radar for a year or two before I really clicked with them. A few songs from their debut album Guppy would appear in my Spotify recommendations. I looked at a couple videos, too, but was not hooked until 2019’s Young Enough came out. I listened to the opening track Blown to Bits, and realized in that moment that Charly Bliss rules. So it was with great anticipation I arrived at the New Parish with my friend Scott in tow.

Charly Bliss was formed by siblings Eva and Sam Hendricks in 2011 (per Wikipedia) along with guitar player Spencer Fox and bass-player Kevin Copeland. Current bassist Dan Shure joined in 2014 after Copeland left. They released an EP in 2014, and their first full-length Guppy debuted in 2017 to critical acclaim. Their second full length Young Enough came out May of this year.

I didn’t quite connect with opener Emily Reo, but she was super cute. Kind of a cross between Tori Amos and Sadie Dupuis. She had bangs and cascades of ringlets framing her face. She played keys and keytar. The music was kind of shoegaze-y, techno pop. She had a pretty voice and the band was very tight, but not very emotive. Emily Reo and band finished their set, gave their farewells, and it was time to psych up for the headliners.

I was down on the floor, and trying to get closer to the stage, but the crowd was packed in tight in anticipation of Charly Bliss. Finally the band came out all dressed in white (matching the Young Enough video) and Eva bounced out in a confection of pink satin and tulle. Eva played the opening chords to Blown to Bits, and I was in heaven for the next 60 minutes.

Charly Bliss was on fire from the moment they took the stage. Their genre is pop/punk, but they are all trained musicians and it shows. The drummer is so tight and so explosive – just really good. Spencer Fox is a really great guitar player, alternating between tasteful fills and concise, melodic leads. And the whole band sings and harmonizes which is awesome. They are so appealing and charismatic – I really want this band to get big!

Eva has Liza Minelli-level star quality, with huge expressive eyes, ringed with scarlet eye shadow. She definitely reaches into her vulnerable place, and sometimes she looks like she’s going to burst into tears. Eva spoke to the audience very enthusiastically and as if we were already on intimate terms, which I found endearing and good. (This doesn’t always work for me, but I am so ready to be friends with this band!) They worked so hard on their new album, and they are proud of it. It’s been hard to bare their souls so much, but fans have been supportive. They are having so much fun playing the new songs. She really does not hold back.

About ¾ through the set, after pausing to say the above, Eva’s brother Sam came out from behind the drums and stood at the keyboard. They played Fighting in the Dark, the four of them standing, facing the audience. It was moving.

I didn’t get the setlist, but they played most of Young Enough and Guppy. The only big omission from my point of view was Westermarck, but I’m not going to hold it against them. The encore was a very spirited Mr. Brightside (originally by the Killers).

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