text: Laura Phillips
The other night’s sold-out Grimes show at Lee’s Palace was a lesson on why not everyone should start a band. When you’re a young adult making life decisions in this clusterf*ck culture of accessibility, self-branding, and a grueling economy– yes, it can be tempting. But please: resist. Don’t start a band.
When Grimes came to stage after midnight, it was a relief. Sitting through sets by Vancouver’s electro duo, Myths, and one-man act, Elite Gymnastics, was hardly a reason to arrive promptly for decent stage views. If Myths hadn’t been so busy competing with each other in a tween-age all-star dance battle, perhaps the show could’ve been more withstanding. Attempted harmonies overtop 4-note loops were barely audible. The two became obsessed with “whoop whoop” shouts into the mic, and it was like The Muppets’ Beaker had cloned himself and gone electro. The performance’s highlight could’ve been the one-off costume change, when the one who wore the ball of feathers on her chest ran backstage to acquire a fuzzy teddy bear backpack. Or, perhaps the dancing was the highlight. Dancing… so much dancing. Is this really happening? Cue Thom Yorke’s lazy-eyed blank stare…
Elite Gymnastics’ James Brooks took time to engage the crowd in conversation for a hefty sum of his set, gifting people who were raised by single parents with drink tickets and flowers. In a large camouflage coat and fluffy pink headpiece, this man was gentle, entertaining, and actually quite lovable– but not so much in the musical sense. Covering pop hits from The Spice Girls amongst other tunes of yesteryear, his appeal seemed to rest on nostalgia. Onstage, vocals were lost beneath his playlist of mixed beats (which were prompted by his handy laptop). It only got worse when the harmonica showed up, an instrument upon which it’s tricky to achieve the right notes. Maybe it was tricky for him to achieve the right notes?
Kids cried for Grimes as she eventually showed herself beneath a borrowed camo coat (Props, Mr. Gymnastics), and immediately got down to business with a full session of Visions plus extras. Technically tight, Grimes showed all her oddball quirks for concert-goers to eat up– dance bops, bottle swigs, cute blips of commentary, and a concentrated play of sound and swathed vocals. Her haunted house mix of “Be a Body” was an extended trip into trance lands, while ‘Vanessa’ was a reminder of the simpler times. Her final diddy of the night was a shout to her Blood Diamonds collab (pals) via ‘Phone Sex’.
An exhaustive turn of events, this show speaks volumes of the fast chomp of new music. Not everyone has something new to give. Perhaps some bands are simply experimenting and will go on to pursue careers in Marine Biology ‘n stuff. Projecting your life development onto the general public, however, does have its consequences, and it is encouraged that those who want to wander for a bit DON’T do it by starting a band. PS: Grimes rules. Crazy ol’ Grimes.