Coco and Clair Clair @ The Echo
Written by Jovana Tankou on December 5, 2022
“Who tonight is feeling sexy”
It’s really hard to feel sexy when you’re freezing in 50-degree weather. I spent the first half of my Wednesday night shivering in a jean skirt on a two-hour bus ride to Echo Park. When I decided to go see the iconic bedroom pop duo, Coco & Clair Clair, I didn’t consider that the show would be held a day before Thanksgiving Weekend. It was the first concert I’d attended alone and the uncharacteristically cold L.A. breeze felt like a personal attack. The equally ill-dressed and incredibly stylish line of concert-goers didn’t seem bothered when the doors finally opened a little after 8 p.m. Everyone was so sweet, slurring compliments at one another like girls in the bathroom of a frat party. People were rocking soft-glam outfits that mirrored the luxurious aesthetics of the group’s recently released sophomore studio album, Sexy. Coco & Clair Clair were kicking off a national tour for the critically acclaimed project that night at The Echo. Just off Sunset Boulevard, The Echo is an esteemed, smaller music venue with one main pit that doubles as a dance floor. By the time I got into the venue, my goosebumps had subdued, melting under the glossy nightclub lights into a calm coolness.
Though Coco & Clair Clair have a softer aesthetic to them, the opener GRANDMA was a perfect middle ground between The Echo’s alternative roots and the audience’s psychedelic pop sensibilities. He started by blasting the recently viral TikTok audio, “The rats don’t run the city, we do” before exploding into songs off his latest EP Angelhood. The Echo’s disco ball drenched GRANDMA in sparkles of red light, as he parted the crowd like Moses and danced within the sea. He prompted the audience to shout out what we were thankful for as he got back on stage. At the end of his setlist, GRANDMA called for his hometown friends and that night’s headliners to come out. As the stage lights dimmed to allow for the breaking down of the band, the platform’s newfound emptiness revealed an LED sign with the names Coco & Clair Clair shining back at us.
Just as the crowd’s anticipation began teetering over into angst, the overhead lights dimmed entirely. Our chants for the two girls were soft but sharp, picking up as we watched them both strut their way up the stairs in all-black outfits. Coco & Clair Clair greeted the crowd with a distinct giddiness, their excitement hidden only by their shades. The two girls radiated an aura of pristine confidence even as they confessed that this is one of their first headlining gigs in a long time. They decided to open up with a hit song off Sexy, their 2021 single Pop Star. The stage shone like northern lights as the two of them faded from green to blue to purple. It’s here the mood was set for the evening—Clair’s serene and angelic voice singing over the backing track as Coco dances to the chorus. During Coco’s verses, we hear her braggadocious lyrics rapped in a petite tone that gives her words a playful delivery. Clair nods her head, rapping along like she’s with us, watching her friend from the pit.
A highlight of the show was the running gag where Coco offered to sing Christmas songs, only to be immediately shut down—and at one point booed— by Clair, who was not having it. It’s clear to anyone that the chemistry between Coco & Clair Clair is a palpable force holding together the show with a level of unmatched intimacy. Their intros to songs included Coco mentioning that Wishy-Washy is about having a sugar daddy and Clair saying Pretty was about liking a boy who’s “kinda ugly.” The best-friendship these two have gives the audience a degree of vulnerability that leads to us becoming increasingly more engaged as the show goes on. The stars spent time taking selfies with fans’ phones, engaging in back-and-forth discussions with the crowd, and referencing fandom-specific incidents. One might think with their flashy neon lighting, Coco & Clair Clair would attempt to make themselves seem larger than life on stage. However, instead of complex choreography or extraordinary stunts, the girls used their charisma and engaging crowd work to keep a captive audience. Alongside interacting with the fans onstage, their banter gave the attendees an intimate, exclusive experience that completely broke the 4th wall. After almost every song they giggled profusely amongst themselves, in a way you can only truly do with your best friend. By the end of the concert, I felt that we, the audience, were not only part of the performance but also in on the joke.
On the Sexy album and subsequent tour, Coco & Clair Clair take us into an early 2000s fantasy of glitz and glam. Name-dropping Britney Spears, (“It goes like this, it’s Britney Bitch” from U + Me ), Katy Perry (“Ur So Gay by Katy Perry” from Love Me), Mariah Carey (“We on our Mariah shit, yeah, skinny” from Pop Star) make these allusions feel aligned with the current y2k phase pop culture seems to be going through. Their performance of The Hills is a love letter to the era with purple overhead lights shining on the audience as they sing along about an imaginary life popping bottles at the Hollywood Hills. The early aughts trend really leans into a hyper-feminine aesthetic complimenting the thing that brings so many people to their music—nostalgia for a carefree time of playing pretend. The two girls are soft-spoken with the kind of airy, high-pitched voices that people can’t help but describe as girly. Though rap tends to favor rougher, deeper voices, Coco is able to have a simplistic flow that is entirely authentic to her while still showcasing her wit and humor. Clair also capitalizes
on her natural talents to create songs with earthworm melodies that you’ll inevitably add to an “Ethereal Vibes” playlist. Her gentle vocals work even better juxtaposed with the more aggressive lyrics present in their more recent work. The performance of Cherub was arguably the most dynamic song of the night, with high audience participation from start to finish. Coco’s “Fuck the NRA, but I’ll blow your fucking house down” was echoed in unison with a conviction that surprised even the performers. The girl group gave wide-eyed looks at one another, sharing a laugh before continuing into Clair Clair’s verse. Lyrics like “She’s a little bitch, she’s my mini-me, wannabe” from Cherub, or “Only bread, you bitches get is a yeast infection” from Bitches embodies a pretty, rich mean girl persona that breathes life into the show. Though mistaken as frivolous innocence—the airy dreamlike production in their music is made dense by recurring themes of opulence and desire.
Around 11:00 pm, Coco and Clair basked in the fanfare that erupted as soon as they announced their next song was about to be the last one. My body moved like it was awakening from a trance on the way out. I had spent the last hour or so transfixed by the visuals, the interaction, the looks, the energy, and drama of it all. The show ending jolted me back into a cold reality that required me to find a way home. In the uber, I didn’t hesitate to plug my airpods in and replay my absolute favorite songs from the concert. The night left me in a warm haze with parts of the show still lingering in my bones every time I recited their lyrics to myself like they were affirmations. Coco & Clair Clair make music for the delusionally sexy; for those of us who need something to hype them up before a good daydream. And though most of us won’t wake up dripping in wealth or head to toe in designer clothes, isn’t it fun to pretend like we can? In the glitzy hot pink daze they created, Coco & Clair Clair allowed us all to re-imagine ourselves as the sexiest bitch in the room.