Grimes at Oxford Art Factory in Sydney

There are few artists that have been as universally adored in 2012 than Grimes, so it was amid huge anticipation that Claire Boucher took to the stage at Sydney’s Oxford Art Factory for a couple of sold out nights. Flanked by two dancers, with bubbles flooding a stage illuminated by lasers and strobe lighting, she created quite the atmosphere as she set about performing tracks from her breakthrough album, Visions.

Each song segued into the next as the Canadian built layer upon layer to fashion a dizzying ambience. At times she bounced up and down to big beats, while other periods saw her in a state of knob-twiddling, furrowed-browed concentration. Indeed, she seemed to be in such a trance-like state that, on Monday’s show, not a word was spoken to the audience until nearly the end point of the night. Any notion that this was due to some kind of arrogance on her part was immediately extinguished when she finally addressed her adoring fans. Speaking nervously, she explained that she didn’t do encores and that she was sorry for having to continually hitch her baggy chambray pants over her small frame. While breaking the spell that her focused display had created, her slightly dorky demeanour made everybody in the room want to pop her in their pocket and take her home.

If Monday night’s audience was somewhat subdued (it was full of industry folk stroking their chins) to the point that she had to stop and advise them that they could dance if they so wished, on Tuesday the crowd pulsated throughout to the “noise experiments” that Claire had created. They were feeding so strongly off the energy being projected on stage that Lafayette, the eccentric dancer, was prompted to crowd surf.

While three-quarters-of-an-hour might not seem long for a headline artist, it was 45 intense minutes which was actually pretty much the perfect length. Her fantastic performance proved that she is a truly interesting and talented artist, offering something different and exciting which blurs the lines beautifully between indie, electro and dance. Utterly mesmerising stuff from one of the best things to happen to 2012.

Review by Carol Bowditch and Bobby Townsend. Photos by Adam Powell

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