Rock City has certainly always been a place to welcome the most diverse range of artists over its 35 years. From The Undertones to Gary Glitter (yes, that really happened), Nirvana to Rolf Harris (I don’t even know), it’s never a dull moment within those dark walls and sticky floors, with thousands of acts from all genres, countries and walks of life taking to the main stage. So as it welcomed multimedia darling Grimes to its main stage last Tuesday, to a packed out room of glitter donning hipster types, it was pretty plain to see we were in for an interesting night at the very least.
It’s been four years since her last album Visions, but Grimes made her return to the scene with critically acclaimed Art Angels last year. A more mainstream, pop sound left fans divided but you could tell from the energy pulsating through the venue that night that it didn’t seem to matter all that much.
On stage entered two of Grimes dancers to the sound of album track “Laughing and Not Being Normal”, who provided an absolutely magical display of contemporary dance, which somehow fused a multitude of genres with the likes of rhythmic gymnastics (ribbons and all) and some truly phenomenal stage production. As Grimes herself began to perform, it was hard to tell whether the vocals were overdubbed, mainly down to the fact that they were so perfect that one was left questioning whether it was miming or if she was just that talented.
In any case, the night continued on in wonderfully fun, energetic fashion, with Grimes punctuating her performance with over zealous chattering in her high pitched Canadian drawl. She dressed and sounded like an anime character, which some would find off-putting, but for the most part was just endearing and completely suited to her stage presence – like an animal from a Disney film who just wanted to make friends with her audience.
She often expressed her genuine fondness for the Nottingham crowd, mentioning time and again that she would ordinarily ask the crowd to dance at this point, but on this occasion she really didn’t have to. It was true – the almost sold out capacity crowd did not keep their feet on the ground or let their hands drop from the air for the entirety of the 13 song set. Dancing is compulsory at a Grimes gig, and if you’re not down with that, let me kindly show you the door.
Highlights of the show came in the form of “Genesis”, set closer “Kill V. Maim”, and most of all “Oblivion” which proved to throw fans into a frenzy. The crowd remained enthused throughout the set, each song performed with a consistency and vigour that comes from years of performing and hours of hard work in becoming the type of performer that Grimes is.
And that’s just it. Grimes is not just a singer. Or an artist. Or a dancer. Or a music producer. She is all of these things and more. Multimedia is her bread and butter. She takes ideas from music, and art, and dance, and creates something that translates so perfectly to her audience through both a recording on your computer and in front of you on a stage.
Just like any genre or artist, Grimes does not make music that is bound to impress everyone. However I’d urge anyone I know to go to her next tour, sink a few pints (which this reviewer may or may not have done) and sit back, relax and enjoy the show. Because if you’re not astounded by the show in front of you, we’ll then you’re just wrong, I’m afraid.