I have a personal relationship with Grimes. And by that I don’t mean that I know Claire Boucher, no, not at all. I mean Grimes, the music making monkier of the adored and adorable Canandian lady Claire Boucher. Geidi Primes was one of the first albums I “discovered” during my college radio days – I begged to book her for one of our shows, but was denied because of the overall strangeness of her music. The first time I saw her was in summer of 2010 at MoMA PS1 – it was my 21st birthday and she opened for Solange Knowles. MoMA was packed, but no one really paid much attention to her set.
Of course, that is all different now. On Tuesday, Nuemos was packed. The last time I was there was during Decibel for John Talbot, when they had the extra speakers that made the hair on your arms move. By comparison, Myths‘ set seemed really reasonable – but a good portion of people had ear plugs in. Neumos’ stage had been transformed into a flowery shrine for the show – fake flowers growing out of neon webs from which synths and electronics emerged. Myths was all high pitched yelping, rhythmic otherworldly screeches – dancing around the stage like psychedelic goblins. Their set was alternately terrifying and freaky – in the best sense of both of those words.
Elite Gymnastics set was probably the most confusing of the night. Where Myths set was energetic and cohesive – their bright lame costumes matching their sparkling screams and backing beats – Elite Gymnastics looked like he wanted to sit in glowing lights and listen to music, not stand on stage and make it. He wasn’t unhappy or anything – but he did things such as start to play a song, with an introduction that had to do with slut-shaming, then he would realize he couldn’t because it wasn’t on his computer. Throughout the middle of the set he sobered up everyone who was already sober in the audience by playing the pretty upsetting video of Amanda Todd in the background. I’m not really sure how much awareness he raised by doing that – especially when you consider that his dancing beats were the soundtrack. He spent most of the set sitting down or tugging on his silk scarf.
The main act: Grimes. She was pretty much everything most people make her out to be – bouncy, bubbly, really nice looking. She had a huge smile on the whole set – and when she wasn’t hugely smiling she had a little happy one at the very least. Myths served as her backing dancers – they were shrouded in glistening cloth, emitting the background vocals. Grimes was wearing a Marylin Manson shirt, platform sneakers, hair in a wild dark green ponytail.
She started off pretty quiet – but besides the quietness I haven’t heard anyone point out that the highs didn’t seem quite so high – especially compared to Myths set before hers. But the whole thing sounded great. About halfway through she put on Genesis, then eventually Oblivion, the two songs most people know her for. She barely stopped between songs, but when she did she received various shouts such as “marry me,” as well as a rose thrown on stage.
The last thing I’m going to say about Grimes: to everyone who said they were impressed that she wasn’t just “pushing a button”, you should have known better. Claire has and always will be a talented musician, she’s been making music for a decently long and time is far from a one-hit wonder. I was really surprised by the number of people who seemed to think that their surprise was warranted, for me the idea of her just pushing a button was far fetched and absurd. See her in-studio at KEXP for reference on that.
At the end of her set Grimes explained her dislike of encores and then proceeded to play “Phone Sex,” a “really great dance track,” that was produced by Blood Diamonds. While packed full the show never got out of hand in terms of volume or being over crowded. Grimes is everything she’s cracked up to be: brilliant, talented, and fun.