Grimes @ The Zoo 08.12.12

Our eclectic team of writers from around Australia – and a couple beyond – with decades of combined experience and interest in all fields.

The first success of the evening was making it alive to Grimes’ sold out show at The Zoo. Tickets to this one were arguably among the most sought-after of the year in Brisbane; snapped up rapidly by a lucky few who were left to fret over being taken down in some dark alley in the months approaching the show.

Predictably, the venue packed out, but not until about 10:30. The Canadian electro/ambient/experimental/industrial/pop songstress made her appearance at 11pm — right on time — before a ridiculously enthused crowd. What followed was a set that cemented the reasons why 24-year-old Claire Boucher shot to popularity so quickly.

Grimes fronted the stage with only her keyboard, synthesizer and two female dancers in sweatpants — a simplistic approach to live music that is not surprising from the approachable, seemingly-shy musician. She had her audience captivated for her full 45-minute set, which was a little disappointing for its shortness but is perhaps to be expected at this point in her career. 

Better-known tracks 'Oblivion' and 'Genesis' from recent album Visions were definitely crowd-pleasers, with 'Genesis' being the clear highlight of the night. Boucher seemed slightly nervous at first but was clearly encouraged by the enamoured crowd, busting out her own endearing, quirky dance moves throughout the night. And speaking of dancing — if you didn’t enter The Zoo covered in hipster sweat, you definitely left it that way.

It can be difficult to know what to expect from an artist like Grimes, whose blend of ethereal vocals and heavy use of electronica could really go either way in a live setting. However, she did not disappoint; the sounds were rich, heavily layered and her voice was undeniably good. The transitions between tracks were seamless and there weren’t any noticeable hiccups on the night. What could easily have been a somewhat boring one-woman show was thrilling; watching Boucher work her ‘instruments’ and vibe off the audience before her was great. The artist looked to be genuinely enjoying herself, which usually makes for the best live sets.

Grimes was lovably awkward, repeatedly thanking her dancers and at one point addressing the audience to inform us that she felt the encore system felt “too fake”, so she would play through instead. The crowd liked this; the crowd liked everything. One definitely got the feeling that Boucher is untouched by her growing fame – the set was raw and unpretentious, but if it was a sign of things to come, things are only going to get bigger from here on.

No complaints here: a pretty damn impressive set that could only have been improved by more air-time for the star. I don’t know how many Grimes fans there were at the beginning of the night, but I’m fairly sure that had doubled by the end.

Written by Annabelle Nyst

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