LIVE REVIEW: GRIMES – HEAVEN – LONDON [05/09/2012]

Grimes + Becoming Real + Majical Cloudz
Heaven, London
5th September 2012

By Leo Kindred

I can say this is the first time I’ve been to Heaven. Synonymous with London gay club culture it also plays host to gigs- the latter is why I’m here in case you’re wondering, and tonight it’s new agey electronica artist of the moment, Grimes, who’s inspired my virgin journey to Heaven.

It’s a somewhat sparse crowd for openers Majical Cloudz, most apparently preferring to wait for the main act. The slightly moodily tinged, electronic duo have shades of emotive brilliance here and there; the minimalist sounds have a smoky melancholia, and the vocal performance is expressive and heartfelt in its authenticity.

Overall though it’s hard to reconcile the sultry, down-tempo feel with the venue and it feels a little out of place. That and there are times his voice reminds me of Morrisey. I fucking hate Morrisey.

Becoming Real consists of one infeasibly thin gentleman, called Toby, a large table of gadgets with wires coming out of them, and a laptop.

One problem for a performance such as Becoming Real’s, consisting of high-tempo dance music, is the need for enthusiasm from the crowd; a bit of excited claustrophobia.

Even though sonically pretty impressive, cut with samples, beats and the occasional dubstep bass-surge, it doesn’t get much response other than the mix of politeness and curiosity a support slot all too often can entail.

In a smaller space with more people, who are less sober, it might work better.

Plus, I also have no idea what he’s doing up there performance-wise.

At one point he hops across stage left to grab something before dashing back to the desk, if I hadn’t been looking I wouldn’t really have noticed. ‘The beat goes on’, as they say.

All of this is washed away by the headliner. Grimes has become something of a hit with air play on radio and television, and the club has filled up to capacity when the kooky Canadian appears.

The response is rapturous for the beginning of the soft, beautifully dream-like, refrain of her soft soprano vocals for ‘Symphonia IX (My Wait Is U)’.

She’s accompanied by a pole dancer, Emily, and the vocalist from Majical Cloudz- he doesn’t sing, just hits an electronic box thing with drum sticks, which as far as I can tell does nothing.
There are visuals, mostly from animé shows, but these are mostly obscured by Emily’s well toned butt and legs as she performs unnaturally graceful, if lewd, movements up and down her pole. This more or less fits, although I find it a distraction and unnecessary. Why? Because Grimes is awesome.

Brilliant enough to make this show and venue hers by herself.

Her vocals are ethereally filled with almost feather-light resonance, and it makes it hard to believe it’s just her, vocal delay, a keyboard, and some samples creating such a wonderful electronic mosaic.

Understandably (that pole looked like hard work!) Emily leaves us after a couple of songs, which includes the lovely ‘Vanessa‘ and the newer, more beat-infused ‘Circumambient‘.
Grimes is then joined on stage by the other half of Majical Cloudz, and some guy I saw selling the merch. Both unleash green beach-balls into the audience and dance rhythmlessly whilst wearing flashing hair extensions and waving toy light-sabres.

As a machine begins blowing bubbles across the stage the beach-balls are batted around throughout the sublime ‘Oblivion‘, ‘Be A Body‘ and ‘Nightmusic‘.

Grimes mentions the equipment’s all new due to theft, apologising for a false start on one of the tracks after hitting the wrong sample. All’s pretty cool though to say the least, because when single ‘Genesis’ hits I want to shout: “By Moses! This is THE! ABSOLUTE! SHITTTT!” I don’t think I did. Probably.

The encore of ‘Phone Sex‘, originally beginning with a showering of ticker-tape, needs to be restarted- someone pulled a cable out or something.

It doesn’t sully the mood or kill erections though for this truly lovely final track of the night, for at the close of this excellent, albeit shortish, set there is ecstatic applause.

Beautiful, otherworldly, haunting; tonight I have been to Heaven.

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