Review: Allie X at Songbyrd

Capitol Sound interviewed Allie X before her show last week so if you haven't had a chance to read it you should. The interview left me intrigued since I had never heard of Allie X. When I arrived at Songbyrd on the night of her show though I quickly realized I was in the minority. This was the first time I'd ever seen a line outside of the Adams Morgan bar and concert space, and it was at least 20 people deep. I learned from an employee that her show was completely sold out, adding more intrigue. After two openers, one drag pop star queen and one R&B synth seductress, Allie X appeared on stage.

About twenty seconds into the first song Allie sang, "I'm your bitch, you're my bitch." The statement took me off-guard as being both possessive and submissive. I had no time to process the lyric further: it was followed by a guttural, resounding BOOM BOOM from the crowd. This call and response continued throughout her single "Bitch" from her first project CollXtion I (pronounced "collection"). This X holds significance for the artist as a representation of the continual process of losing and finding one’s identity. Her fans strongly embrace this ambiguity. The moment she used her forearms to throw up an X over her head, the crowd responded in kind. They cheered when she removed her sunglasses for a moment, revealing her full face for the only time during the concert. 

This intimacy with her fans isn’t forced; Allie welcomes it as part of her creative process. A clear crowd favorite at the concert, "All the Rage" is one of the several songs that fans helped shape on the Collxtion II: Ʉnsolved Spotify playlist. As she continued her parade of high kicks and high-octave riffs during “That’s So Us”, what struck me was the blend of upbeat pop melodies and electronic beats with less than bubbly lyrics (for example, “you make me not want to die”). She radiated a constant energy of conviction that melded the seemingly dissonant elements together. This unique style sets Allie X apart from others in the electronic pop genre.

Sanctuary” concluded the show (to the delight of one passionate fan), and her ballad “True Love is Violent” was the final encore, both songs showcasing vocal control and range, even at the end of her set.

"She is such a goddess," an attendee said to me as everyone exited. And yes, she reigned that night.

Follow Allie X at the links below.