WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 2015|
Posted by: Kirsten Spruch
Lights start flashing and a dancer enters the stage. The strings from "Laughing And Not Being Normal" chime in, physically rumbling the venue and building anticipation. My heart starts to speed up in this emotionally mysterious moment. All eyes are on the dancer, who's dressed head to toe in sporty gear, moving along to the plucking cellos and violins. As the intro finishes, Grimes jumps out from under her keyboards and starts energetically singing "Circumambient" which is then followed by "Genesis." These being two of the most popular songs from the singer/producer's last album Visions, the crowd naturally went insane. Seeing Grimes in the flesh was like seeing an alien for the first time. Every detail in the way she moved made her seem as though she was an animated angel from a different planet, like a glorious alien-robot-machine. She was jumping back and forth between the front of the stage and behind her gear, exaggerating each turn of the knobs and putting every bit of energy she had into pronouncing her vocals. She also had a fan that blew wind in her hair when she stood on her pedestal of synths and keys, creating a powerful Beyonce-goddess visual. After she surprised us with the older material, she explained "I started out with those songs to test you guys." And judging by how everyone reacted, I think we passed.
Between songs, Grimes spoke like a normal, endearingly awkward teenager. She explained that she was ill and felt like she was going to projectile vomit, but she was still stoked to perform. I would've never guessed that she was sick (and also had a leg injury) because she was dancing all over the place and her crisp, high-pitched vocals sounded smooth and clear. There were a few moments where she'd let out a quirky growl instead of sing, but that's what makes Grimes who she is.
Next, she performed "Venus Fly." The song features soul/R&B singer Janelle Monae who unfortunately wasn't able to be there, but it still managed to be one of the best songs in the set. The heavy bass was flooding the venue as Grimes bounced all over the stage along with her two incredible dancers who were waving around props. It almost felt like Monae was there in spirit. Later on she played "Scream" which features Taiwanese rapper Aristophanes, who made an appearance. Between each verse, Grimes would let out an enormous scream throughout the room as Aristophanes howled along by her side. The two looked like best friends epically partying together on stage.
Sparkling lights that looked like stars in the night sky hung out in the background while blue, green and purple lights illuminated the room. The dancers shot green lasers and flowers into the crowd. Grimes' aesthetic is so solid that even the color combinations of the lights felt like they were hand-picked out by her, playing a huge role in the show.
After this, Grimes finished off the rest of her set (not including the encore) with older songs, like "Go," "Be A Body," "Oblivion," and "Phone Sex," which was co-written and produced with Blood Diamonds. I have to admit that I was a little disappointed that she didn't play more new songs. It would've been great to hear "Butterfly" and "World Princess Pt. II" live, but she didn't even play her latest single "Flesh Without Blood." Nonetheless, it was also pleasant surprise to see her play so many older songs. For her encore she finished with "Kill V. Maim," which she announced she was currently making a video for. The bouncy song was a perfect way to end the show as the entire crowd (including myself) was jumping up 10 feet in the air.
Grimes is a mystical creature -- a perfect balance between producer and performer. Most of the show felt like an EDM rager, but without the EDM and with more personality than a DJ. The music made me want to dance my sweaty ass off but also stand still so I could meticulously watch Grimes at the same time. She can shake a venue but also grab your attention with nothing but her presence almost instantly.