Last night, I had the opportunity to see a buzzed-about indie diva Grimes less than 15 minutes from my home. What drew me to the artist was her 2010 debut Geidi Primes(I’m simply a sucker for anything that references my favorite book Dune). The show promoter Spune‘s competitive ticket prices and sharp booking were a factor for me reviewing on the fly.
The show opened with Denton locals Peopleodian, with a mix of chiptune and DIY rock over hip pixie vocals. I may see them again when they play at the 35Denton, opening for High Places.
The second set Born Gold offered the best stage presence with tablet-sized LED displays, strobe lights and a beaming motorcycle jacket calling up Tron. Their music is a cybernetic mix of vocoder-distorted vocals(calling up Mind.In.A.Box) current UK Garage music trends and 8-bit chipset music.
Headliner Grimes appeared on stage before 11pm, playing tracks from her recent release Visions. Grimes’ sound mixes with flirtatious vocals with leftfield electronic themes. Members of Born Gold appeared on stage for backup instruments with gold-embroidered South Asian kameez and a shirtless percussionist in fur scarf. Grimes figurehead Claire Boucher is still a bit raw and awkward on stage, choking and giggling when she misses notes. This may play into her authentic persona, but it still seems sloppy. The acerbic request for “Video Games” by an attendee during the encore provoked a few people in the crowd.
The two Canadian performers Born Gold and Grime seems to represent a Canadian industrial music renaissance, a recovery of sounds that the country pioneered in the 1980s with groups like Frontline Assembly and Skinny Puppy. This neo-industrial wave (which includes Crystal Castles, Austra and others) may have been influenced by the many side projects of Skinny Puppy founder cEvin Key and Frontline Assembly founder Bill Leeb.
With a genre as fragmented as industrial, I was surprised that I like all these hip new bands appropriating this sound and giving a fresh way of approaching alienating digital music.