Live Review: Grimes, Elite Gymnastics, Myths @ NeumosPosted by Allen Huang
On an unseasonably pleasant night in October, a line of post-internet acolytes waited patiently for Neumos’ main doors to open. An assortment of men and women, draped in doll dresses and meme-addled t-shirts, Technicolor streaks running down their hair, all were determined to be as close as possible to their current goddess, Grimes. The show was as sold-out as sold-out gets, the doors hadn’t even opened and already scalpers were in full force.
I made a friendly bet with my friend on whether the venue would reach decent capacity before Grimes took the stage. While her stock in this city has risen immeasurably due to a fairground-packing performance at the Capitol Hill Block Party, her tour mates were still enigmas to the Seattle crowd: Myths hails from Vancouver, BC but are well-known to almost no one, while Elite Gymnastics was slated to open for Sleigh Bells last year but never did show due to an ailment afflicting the headlining act. Given the drastically different levels of buzz for the openers and the main event, I was counting on the crowd being thin until the very last moment.
For Myths, I was right. The female duo howled and chirped through a theatric, booming set that fried eardrums and confounded most of the crowd. The early-arrivals shuffled back and forth between waypoints during their set, outside, to the bathroom, to the bar, to the floor, and back again. Not that Myths’ music is easy to ignore, in fact it is very hard not to pay attention to the two pixie-ish characters, sashaying across the stage and making all sorts of buzzing, creaking, yelping noises. It’s just it was probably too much, too early, too Tuesday for most people to really appreciate what they were doing.
By the time Elite Gymnastics took the stage, I had lost my bet. The crowd was deep, waiting patiently for just about anything to happen. And then along comes James Brooks, now the sole proprietor of Elite Gymnastics, a wreath of flowers adorning his head, Totoro doll in hand. After politely asking if it was okay for him to start playing (yes, says the house men), Brooks opened his set with a colorful cover of the Spice Girls’ “Say You’ll Be There.” It’s obvious that Grimes and Elite Gymnastics’ fanbases have a lot of crossover; a good chunk of the crowd sang along unironically.
Again, another totally honest, totally committed, yet admittedly perplexing set. Harmonica solos awash with reverb, anime backdrops, public service announcements about the value of poetry, a disclaimer about slut shaming, and multiple selt-depricating comments about his own music were delivered in a taut 40 minutes. Those familiar with Elite Gymnastics’ modus operandi (myself included) were captivated, while those who just arrived perhaps a little too early were, again, confounded to the point of irritation. Not that that matters. “Omamori” still sounds really good.
Finally (not much wait between sets! That was great) Grimes took the stage, wearing an oversized Marilyn Manson shirt and an awkwardly large set of headphones, as if her model was not to scale. Myths returned with her, in tribal body paint and glo-fi skeleton wear, serving as her backing band/vocals/fly girls. Grimes’ sets are now leaner and meaner; she’s come a long way from her set at the Sunset. To everyone’s delight the hits were spread around evenly, “Vanessa” making an appearance early, “Oblivion” shortly after and “Genesis” near the end. Instead of leaving the stage for her ‘encore,’ Grimes took the time to explain why it feels really awkward to leave the stage just to come back moments later, and why instead she’s just going to play her encore as a part of the set. This explanation took probably as long as it takes to leave and come back for your encore. No matter, the effort is more appreciated.
Her last song was one of my personal favorites, her collaboration with producer Blood Diamonds titled “Phone Sex.” Myths were now in full hype-woman mode, trotting out some intermediate level choreography to the undeniable danciness of the song. Songs like “Phone Sex” bode well for Grimes, especially considering her stint on the Coachella Cruise. She’ll be right at home on that boat.
Check out more pictures from the show here.