Grimes // 08.05.12 // Brudenell Social Club // Leeds
Standing in a room in which every single person in there falls in love with the same girl at exactly the same moment is quite a strange experience. I’d like to think I was the only one whose heart skipped a beat as Claire Boucher played the Brudenell Social Club through the night, but I’m pretty sure Grimes stole the hearts of every single person in that room.
Grimes has blown up this past year, each time I tell someone that this year’s Visions is not the first album they’re pretty shocked. At the moment she’s a stones-throw away from music royalty, but this is still early days for Grimes as an artist. So her performance is still charming, it’s not polished and there’s still an air of spontaneity about it. These are qualities that demonstrate the highly praised DIY roots of Grimes as a musical project. I feel pretty privileged to see her at this kind of in between stage, a point at which she’s given a lot but she still has so much more to offer.
You can tell art is in Grimes’ nature, as she walks about the stage, she politely shouts instructions to the back of the room: "this should be moody, can we have it a little darker in here” as she prepares her set. The clothes she wears have become a symbol of her individuality; causing many to brand her as a fashion icon. This is just one of the many reasons why people are drawn to her; she’s not just a musician she’s a natural born artist, and she expresses it in every way she knows how. She even manages to make technical hiccups look cool, as she began her set by exploding into ‘Vanessa’, the equipment cut out, so she started again. This time she dived into her recent single, ‘Oblivion’, promising us she’ll come back to Vanessa later on when the incident was forgotten about. If Grimes wasn’t Grimes, this would have been a disaster. No one else could get away with studying personalised instructions in front of the crowd trying to figure out how to use new equipment, it’d piss people off. But for some reason, the crowd absolutely loved it. I don’t think anybody in the Brudenell would have cared if her whole set was faulty, they’d have just carried on dancing and cheering, because there's something about her presence that just emanates happiness.
When Grimes finally got into the swing of things, her set was unbelievably energetic. It’s so easy to forget it’s just her up there as she crazy dances behind her magical computer synthy contraption that I don’t have a name for. Her expertise as a producer became obvious during her performance, watching her make everything come together is pretty special as she was somehow able to sing and simultaneously press thousands of little buttons to create the most detailed sounds. Therefore every single song in the set, from ‘Be a Body’ to ‘Genesis’, was brushed off to perfection. The poppy element of visions suddenly becomes a lot dirtier live, a lot heavier and this exposes the darkness behind some of her lyrics and so the contrast between the high energy and the darkness of her music seems to lead to some strange euphoria that isn't often experienced. You’ll also be glad to hear that the second rendition of Vanessa was completed successfully, massively encouraged by the crowd the set was short but sweet.
I realise that this review makes me sound like some sort of crazed super-fan, but the ecstasy I felt upon leaving the Brudenell was unreal. I distinctly remember standing outside the venue squealing like a schoolgirl exclaiming how great she was – a giddy spell only comparable to that of Steps at the M.E.N in 1998. Grimes may be a hype machine, but she deserves all the credit she receives, she possesses the performance and the personality to become musical perfection.