MUSIC | GRIMES AT BRIXTON ACADEMY

For someone of her stature, the pint-sized pixie that is Claire Boucher, better known by her stage name Grimes, sure does command a whole lot more stage presence than one could initially expect, a bouncing ball of constant energy that fueled the fun-loving crowd at Brixton Academy last week. I'd been patiently waiting for the day that I would get to see this experimental pop princess live, having been a fan of her music since I lived in Australia but contantly missing out since she only made it out to the festivals in Sydney and Melbourne whilst I was stuck on the opposite side of the country. I couldn't have been more pumped for the show on the day, her latest album Art Angels has obviously been top of my iPod's most played list and let's face it, Grimes is just major girl crush material and basically the coolest chick to ever come out of the music industry (at least in my eyes). I got to the venue exceptionally early and managed to nab front row position at the barrier. Despite rapidly becoming sleepier and hangrier by the minute (I did smuggle a cheeseburger in my bag in case the situation got unbearably out of hand, which the security did spot and found extremely amusing), when support act Hana Truly took to the mic, I was quite pleasantly swept out of my dull reverie. Her entrancing vocals and dreamy, atmospheric beats captivated me from the very first melody and about three songs in when she started one I would later learn was called Underwater (my personal favourite, it's absolutely magical, do check it out), I was already thoroughly convinced I needed to download all her music as soon as I got home. It's not often I feel sad when a support act is about to finish so that's definitely a testament to Hana's incredible set but she assured us that she would be back on stage with Grimes.


It's almost 9pm when the lights dim and a backup dancer saunters on stage to the orchestral intro of Grimes' Laughing and Not Being Normal. Before the last note ends, the lights go up to reveal none other than Claire, standing between her standard armoury of electronic keyboards, dressed rather haphazardly in true Grimes fashion: an oversized Moschino tee paired with speaker print leggings and topped off with a Minnie/tennis player-esque towel bow around her head. To my and the collective audience's delight she dives into playing Genesis, which, fun fact, was actually the first song of hers I heard and consequently led me to become a fan. If that wasn't enough the next song she played was my all-time favourite, REALiTi, and from that point I was absolutely certain that it was going to be the most amazing night. Claire whizzes around the stage so quickly, it would sure be a phone camera's worst nightmare. One moment she's interacting with one side of the crowd, half a beat later she's leapt back behind her keyboards before launching herself to the other side. She improvs some of her beloved songs live and it works really well (a particular memorable take on Be A Body has me wishing for a studio version), her voice switching seamlessly from sugary schoolgirl high pitches to gravelly growls and screams. In between songs, Claire is awkward yet endearing, seemingly not quite sure what to say to the audience that are cheering and clapping her on. She squeaks out numerous 'thank yous' and shrugs in bewilderment when the audience responds ecstatically. 
"So I have a contentious opinion on the whole encore situation..." she says tentatively, "I feel it should be reserved for special situations. I have terrible nerves. Once I leave, I'm done, it's too much..." And with that, Claire and her team of backup dancers plus Hana, launch into the sure-fire crowd pleaser Kill v. Maim which successfully amps up all my surroundings to a level of insanity that made sure the night ended with a bang.

The Setlist

Laughing and Not Being Normal
Genesis
REALiTi
Flesh without Blood
Scream
Venus Fly
Butterfly
Be a Body (New Version)
Go
Symphonia IX
Oblivion
World Princess Part II
Kill v. Maim (encore)

All photographs were taken by me. Please credit and link back to this blog if you use them.