Grimes – The Ritz, Manchester – 30th August 2012

Posted on August 31, 2012


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

Posted in: Music