Venus In Fleurs
Transcribing the dense, complex soundscapes that form the Grimes sound would have been more of a challenge in the hands of anyone other than musician/producer Claire Boucher. And there’s something about the live renditions of tracks such as ‘Be A Body’, ‘Nightmusic’ and ‘Oblivion’ that breath new life into the tunes. The songs become infectious bass heavy dance-pop numbers. This is electronic dance music done right.
The evening kicked off with support from fellow Canadian artist Majical Cloudz (who collaborated with Grimes for the track ‘Nightmusic’. The moody soundscapes of Majical Cloudz are certainly effective, but at times artist Devon Welsh just looks unsure what to do with himself on stage. Second support Becoming Real offers more up tempo fare with a seamless mix set of electronic dance.
The arrival of Grimes to the stage was overshadowed by unfortunate events. The theft of equipment in Manchester the previous week cast some doubts on the final tour dates. A swift replacement of new gear solved that particular issue, although a few minor technical issues cropped up during the performance as Claire struggled to acclimatise herself to the new equipment: “I can’t always remember where I’ve put my samples…”.
Early Grimes gigs saw Miss Boucher alone on stage, which most fans would probably have been happy with. But some thought has obviously gone into enhancing the visual aspect of the live Grimes experience, hence the projections of anime clips and abstract footage, the addition of Emily the pole dancer and Vin Diesel on light sabres! It gave the event a sense of theatre and helped to encourage a party atmosphere, which the enthusiastic crowd eagerly assisted with.
There’s loud cheers to greet songs such as ‘Vanessa’ and ‘Oblivion’, with the latter tune sounding a lot stronger live with its beefier bass rhythm and emphatic melody getting the crowd moving.
‘Genesis’, unsurprisingly, gets the biggest cheers of the evening and the entire venue is bopping along to the Kraftwerk-ian slice of dream pop that has been instrumental in establishing Grimes as a household name.
The encore features ‘Phone Sex’, the collaborative number between Grimes and Blood Diamonds. Despite technical problems cutting the song off, Miss Boucher battles on, fixes things up and then finishes the set off in style.
The next question is where GRIMES goes next. There’s talk of becoming a producer for other artists as a full time option, although the next GRIMES album is already under discussion and is described by Miss Boucher as her “anime-industrial album”.
Text and photos by Paul Browne
6th September 2012
Publications that have featured his contributions include Electronic Sound, Metro, Japan Update Weekly, J-Pop Go, Wavegirl and OMD Messages.