Grimes - XOYO, London 09/05/12
Words by Letitia Becher
"Can you make the atmosphere gloomier please?" Grimes asks on the stage, stood in a day-glow green fur jacket and a hat. The lights are lowered and the elfin Montreal singer starts to play through her samples on her keyboard to find the correct one. A topless male dancer emerges from the darkness, covered in glitter.
I'll admit to being concerned that seeing Grimes live would break the magic spell. But it doesn't. In the blue lighting and through the smoke she confidently plays her brand of synth pop and the haunting, layered samples of her voice. That voice. The 'I'm not trying being cute I have a fucking lisp' voice. It's pretty mesmerizing. At times I am not even sure what she is singing, but it doesn't matter - I am happy to sway in the audience, as I am fully engrossed. I even create a weird hand dance and I am not too sure where that came from.
She plays through the samples, hardly looking up at the audience, just engrossed in her tinkerings. We all listen intently and I find myself trying to sing along to the synth. It's not just her voice that I like, it's all of the atmospheric sounds. They're a delight to the senses. The mix of ethereal electro conjures up unidentifiable emotion but still leaves me wanting to dance. Uppers or downers? I am not too sure. In places she sounds like Enya. All the while she skips about on stage, giggling and bopping to her beats, unaware of the otherworldly presence she holds.
There seems to be a lot of excitement from the crowd when she plays her new single 'Nightmusic' and again when the single 'Oblivion' is played. I wonder to myself if she plays a venue that is less intimate than XOYO if it will work as well, and if maybe she'll loose some of the intensity. I guess to anyone questioning the hype, the option is to see her like this. When it works best.
Then suddenly it's over, too quickly, my friend mentions. She bounds off the stage and we're left on a high and wanting more. No encore, just a giggle and a thank you in her child-like voice.
Purchase and listen
Although such an assumption could be entirely off base, the aesthetic side of Claire Boucher’s Grimes seems to me an affectation similar to the much maligned and discussed persona of one Lizzy Grant. Though Boucher hasn’t released an album under her birth name, her carefully constructed public visage is one of heavily puffed up weirdness. [read more]
This year has brought fresh talent and well deserved hype from the country that is Canada. Although popular trash electronic duo Crystal Castles have taken somewhat of a hiatus after headlining the NME Awards Tour show earlier this year, there has been an increase of promising artists from a great country. [read more]