31 March 2012
It-girl Claire Boucher aka Grimes, finished up her first headlining tour in the city where it all began, playing to a sold out crowd at Cabaret du Mile End. She started the show solo on stage, twiddling knobs and building loops of voice and synth to excellent effect, yet it wasn’t until openers Born Gold joined her on stage to help flesh out her sound that the show really started to cook. The concert showcased tracks from her critically acclaimed new album Visions as well as a few older songs, like the hypnotic “Vanessa”. Grimes was particularly cute and awkward on stage, seeming a bit nervous and shy, continually asking the sound guy to “turn down the lights” and “turn up the music”.
And once the lights went down and the sound went up Grimes seemed much more in her element, letting her inhibitions go and her voice soar. And for the most part, she totally had the vocal chops live, although I did notice some voice loops assisting her once in awhile, most notably during the high parts of “Be a Body”. Production wise I was very impressed as the songs took on a grittier, darker vibe than they have on the album. The bass thumped hard, the snare pops rattled, and the synths coalesced into an analogue swirl of sound indebted to the work of Aphex. In sum, it was a great show, and I think she should seriously consider having Born Gold accompany her on the next tour, because I’m unsure as to whether the show would have had the same sense of freshness and urgency if they weren’t helping propel her sound farther and louder.
Still, in my opinion, Grimes should be playing at this year’s Mutek, as she seems to be on the cusp of a whole new wave of young electronic artists further pushing the boundaries of genre and technology. I digs.
Best track: “Life After Death”