If you were to imagine a 23-year-old in sweatpants and an oversized t-shirt, you would assume she is relaxing at home. Never would it occur that she would be performing live at The Fillmore Silver Spring for over 200 people. Chelsea Cutler is the exception to this description. Sporting her How To Be Human merchandise, Cutler captivated the audience and made the stage her own.
The Fillmore Silver Spring was her 13th stop on her American tour in promotion of her debut album, How To Be Human, released in January of this year. The album is exemplary of her distinct EDM, indie pop sound, which she showcased at The Fillmore on March 5. The relatively small venue provided for an intimate atmosphere, allowing those in the very back of the room to have a perfect view of Culter.
Before Cutler’s performance, X Lovers and Alexander23 opened the show. X Lovers went first, bringing their pop-rock sound to the stage. The two best friends, London Jackson on vocals and lead guitar and Jacob Ames on the drums, performed a number of their songs including the melancholy “Sweatshirt,” my personal favorite “Cut My Lip,” and a rendition of Natasha Benningfield’s “Unwritten.” The slow, smooth cover was the perfect closer for their set. With just one guitar and one drum set, X Lovers captivated the audience. After their performance, they walked around the venue, greeting fans and taking photos. Even after the show ended, the duo waited by the stage doors to meet more of their supporters.
Working off the energy X Lovers had created, Alexander23, formally known as Alexander Glantz, took the stage. With his electric guitar, he passionately played “Another Summer Without You,” “Dirty AF1s,” and a cover of Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the U.S.A.” His indie rock sound was just what the crowd needed to get revved up for Cutler. Alexander23 followed X Lovers lead and met fans along the barricades. He even stopped for a moment and chatted with the person before moving to the next fan. This was a compelling display of connection, and showed that he truly cared about those who came to see him.
Not long after Alexander23 closed his set, Cutler took the stage with an energetic performance of “Are You Listening.” Jumping and dancing around the stage, it was not difficult for Cutler to get the audience to follow suit. About 20 minutes into her set, she asked the crowd to put their phones away and to live in the moment. From then on, there were minimal phones in the air. She exuded power.
“Sad Tonight,” my personal favorite from How To Be Human, was one of the most energetic performances of the night. At many points during the song, Cutler turned the microphone to the audience and asked them to sing along with her. Towards the end of the bridge, Cutler built up anticipation for the next chorus by standing on her drummer, Gavin Chops’, bass drum. When the beat dropped, she leapt into the air.
This energy quickly changed when the lights dimmed, and Cutler walked over to her piano. Fans knew what was coming. As the opening chords of “you were good to me” played, the audience cheered with excitement for the emotional song. The crowd screamed every word of the song so passionately that you could hardly hear Cutler herself.
“Deserve This” revived the happy, dancing energy that the night began with. After singing “The Reason,” Cutler thanked the Fillmore for a great night and walked off stage. The audience began to chant “Chelsea,” hoping she would come back for an encore. And that she did. The three song encore began with “Lucky,” which she brought Alexander23 back out for. The two artists’ energies bounced off each other, making the duo appear entirely natural. Cutler then surprised fans with a cover of “Mr. Brightside” by The Killers, a wonderful choice for the encore that perfectly suited the vibe. Finally, she finished the show with an electric performance of “Your Shirt.”
The best thing a performer can do is include their audience, whether it be by dancing or talking with them. When the artist creates the right kind of atmosphere, you forget for a moment that the concert will end. Cutler did just that. On that Thursday night, Chelsea Cutler’s concert went beyond my expectations. With her charisma and incredible stage presence, she completely owned the stage.