Grimes – The Ritz, Manchester – 30th August 2012

Posted on August 31, 2012

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written by Robert Pollard for High Voltage

As Claire Boucher, aka Grimes, walked on stage at The Ritz in Manchester, the excitement in the hall was palpable. It’s been a phenomenal year for Grimes. The release of her third studio album, Visions, was met with a justifiably high level of acclaim. Critics were pretty much unanimous in their assessment that this was one of the year’s best albums and that Boucher was now a real force. Suddenly, her fan base grew and appearances on television and radio further showcased her talent. Add to this some well-received festival dates over the summer and the heightened anticipation for this gig becomes understandable.

Grimes is 24, based in Montreal, and makes music difficult to categorise. Synth-pop is probably as good a label as any but it’s classy synth-pop, full of glorious melodies laden with hooks. Her singing style is totally unique, meaning most people resist the temptation to compare her to anyone else; it’s her own inimitable style and more and more people are appreciating it. It’s a wonderful sound she makes; one which takes the listener on an ethereal journey of musical bliss, and makes clear how serious she is about her art. Grimes is a sensory overload and the crowd in Manchester loved it.

Oblivion and Genesis have been stuck in my head since I first heard them months ago and the crowds response to them suggests they have been the songs most responsible for her sudden breakthrough. Her encore included Phone Sex, a song written in collaboration with LA popster Blood Diamonds. Now, I’ve always found the idea of phone sex a particularly disturbing one but it’s a subject which has made for a great slice of pop brilliance. It was a fitting end to great evening in which Claire Boucher was rightly lauded by her ever-expanding band of fans.

The night took a sour twist later on with news of Grimes’ equipment being stolen from outside the venue. It’s such a shame that this talented young woman will now probably associate Manchester with the theft of her tools rather than with what was a brilliant gig. That incident aside, this was a terrific night as Manchester witnessed the brilliance of Canada’s finest exponent of electronic pop.

photograph – Sam Ellis

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Posted in: Music