Having missed out seeing Grimes at the inaugural Gorilla vs. Bear festival last year, I luckily had the chance to catch her twice in one day. Two shows in one day? Sorta. The first of her performances came by way of the Astroturf at Good Records. And if you haven't noticed, the Astroturf has brought in some damn fine acts lately. But, I digress. The slow, yet constant flow of people descended upon Good Records to catch Grimes, whose real name is Claire Boucher, who has made quite a name for herself by producing catchy tracks and receiving well-deserved press and praise by most influential music outlets. As she began setting up her equipment, you could tell she seemed out of her element. She wasn't in the middle of a dark venue where the only lights were beamed from overhead, but yet, she was in plain sight with no backup band and dozens of eyes staring at her every move. An intimidating situation for most people. But once she was set to go, you could see most of those insecurities drift away as she dove into her music, performing four lengthy renditions of "Vanessa", "Be a Body", "Genesis", and "Symphonia IX". The Visions-heavy set was short but sweet, a real teaser for what her sold out show at Dan's Silverleaf in Denton had in store.
After the performance at Good Records, I immediately made my way to Interstate 35 to make my way north to Denton, a typical thirty to forty minute drive in normal traffic. But since the instore ended just short of 5pm, I hit Dallas's biggest drawback: traffic. My journey to Denton took nearly an hour and forty minutes, most of which was enjoyed listening to SBTRKT and Atlas Sound. Having left so early for a show whose doors opened at 8pm, I had some time to kill. So, I wandered Denton's Square and had a bite to eat at Love Shack. I made my way around to Roosters and had a couple drinks with Matthew of Wellhouse Co./Spune before heading into Dan's. The show began with Denton's own Peopleodian, who played a half hours' worth of fuzzy pop tunes before making way for Born Gold. I was not expecting the performance from Born Gold. With synchronized lighting from motion-detected movements and an array of gadgets of a leather jacket, the show was nothing short of amusing. Their music would have been good enough to keep the crowd involved, and dancing for that matter, but their use of stage props and over the top theatrics was lot of fun, almost to the point of being campy. It was good though.
As Grimes made her way on stage, Dan's was near capacity and you could tell that Claire was definitely in her environment. With a dimly lit stage and her equipment at easy access, as opposed to laying on the Astroturf at Good Records, it didn't take long for her to take command and send the crowd into dance mode. Her voice was much more crisp and dynamic than her earlier performance and the venue's audio system really propelled her beats and synths into high gear. She was joined onstage by Born Gold for the majority of her set, providing the extra flux in sound and overall aesthetics of having a full stage. As for Claire, she really hit her stride. She was no longer confined the floor to perform, so she let loose and danced along with the music, begging the crowd to join along. They didn't need the invitation. For the better part of an hour and a half, she whipped up a frenzy of synth-driven dance songs that culminated with her solo, encore performance of "Devon". It was at this point where Claire was her most vulnerable. No additional musicians onstage. Just her front and center in front of the crowd. She wowed the crowd with her vocals, only to stop midway and voice her insecurity. It was then she jumped backed in and finished strongly. It was a great way to end a great set. Photos and videos from the shows are below:
Grimes @ Dan's Silverleaf, Denton, TX / Good Records, Dallas, TX Reviewed by Scott Rowe, Editor on 1:20:00 PM Rating: