"Clairo and A Soft Dream at The National on 2/2/22"

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Writing and Photography by Jess Som

Sold out show on fourth day of the Sling North American Headlining Tour.

Arlo Parks energetically opened the crowd with her tender voice and liveliness, perfectly preparing the room for Clairo.

Singer/songwriter and multi-faceted artist Claire Cottrill, who performs under the name Clairo, leaves the crowd feeling enchanted with her delicate voice, warm stage presence and bubbly personality. With the accompaniment of her band and undeniably cool set design, the night was charmingly memorable. 

Since her debut album Immunity, which offered a more bedroom pop sound, she’s evolved with a more dynamic range that brings in 70’s folk influences. While Clairo explored new genres, her sincerity and rawness of diving into the struggles of being young and vulnerable to the world remained. Performing most tracks from her sophomore album, Sling, the lyrics and arrangements offered moments of revelations and emotive explorations. Of course, there was a mix of her breakthrough songs “Bags,” “Alewife,” “Softly,” “Pretty Girl,” and the highly anticipated “Sofia” to end the night. The glowing lanterns on the stage set a cozy ambiance which reflected the alluring sounds and collective intimacy that was shared.

Clairo has an undeniable talent for tapping into emotions and anxieties that present themselves when growing up; which are sometimes hard to articulate, but she does so in such a soft and moving way. As the night went on the audience swayed to dreamy melodies and unraveled in youthful innocence, which  is a feeling I get every time I listen to her music.  Her music is an ode to being gentle with ourselves and being receptive to the inevitable ebbs and flows of life. When you need a moment to tune into something deeply introspective, Sling may provide you that space to delve into your emotions in whatever ways is best for you. 

Ink staff member Caroline Jenkins was also present in the crowd. 

“I remember the first week of my freshman year at VCU listening to Immunity on repeat in Cabell Library, filled with excitement about my future in college, wondering what space I would fit into, who I would become here,” she said. “Then, standing there and hearing Clairo perform those same songs I listened to back then, I was able to feel the hole where the unease once sat being filled with gratitude, peace, and belonging. Her soft melodies reflected themes of coming into herself, the struggles of being in your early twenties, the complexities of being a woman. All of these are so personal to so many of us. She lets us hear little pieces of herself.”

With that, I couldn’t agree more that we are able to find pieces of ourselves in it too, and that we are interconnected in some way. We are uniquely both the same and different people on our own paths, transformations, evolution with shared connections of resonating lines, and that’s what’s so special about music. 

Thank you to Clairo for a night of groovy sax solos, woodwind backing, guitar riffs, piano melodies and a graceful voice that all harmonized to cultivate moments of blissful rumination. 

Give Sling a listen! 

SETLIST:

Bambi

Zinnias 

Wade

North

Bags

Harbor

Alewife

Impossible

Softly

Bluse

Just For Today 

Little Changes

Partridge

Nomad

Reaper

Joanie 

Amoeba

Management

Pretty Girl

Sofia