Claire Boucher’s love of K-pop is well known to those with an interest in the 25-year old Canadian artist and so Grimes‘ first foray into the Korean peninsula could be seen as something of a pilgrimage. Backstage attendances by Min from Miss A and the Cardinal of K-pop himself, , meant that the Vancouver natives’ visit was certainly well ordained by the K-pop elite. As the word of this high concentration of pop stars spread through the sold-out show the audience took on a sense of almost teenage longing for the gig to begin that was not wholly inappropriate for Grimes’ unique brand of experimental electronic pop.
When she did emerge, Boucher effortlessly took advantage of this fervent mood and gave an adept performance that seemed to somehow appear simultaneously exhilarated and becalmed. Sporting a t-shirt that read ‘영락 RUIN’, a reference to the cover of a record by Elite Gymnastics, Grimes consummately entranced the adulated crowd who only took a song and a half to start throwing some extremely enthusiastic shapes. This enthused and aurally-induced thrusting hit a high point mid-set with fan favourites ‘Oblivion’ and ‘Be a Body’ and by the time closer ‘Phone Sex’ (a collaboration between Boucher and Blood Diamonds) rolled around the packed-out Hongdae crowd could leave in an elated mood.
Boucher has mentioned in interviews that she recorded a lot of her music on Garageband and has always taken her own unusual approach to music. This was reflected in Saturday night’s performance in the use of non-synchronised backing dancers (whose only choreographic directions seemed to be to have a good time) and in her choice to avoid the now staid tradition of the expected encore. Discussing the live trope with the audience Boucher decried the fallacy of pretending to ‘hide backstage’ while people clap. Instead she asked the crowd if they would like her just to stay on stage and continue playing to which, of course, the answer was a resounding yes.
Did you go to the Grimes live in Seoul on Saturday night? What did you think?
New international acts coming to Korea are constantly being added to our Seoul Events in 2013 article. Check it out or read the new Spring concert line-up from SuperColorSuper, who brought Grimes to Seoul. Tickets for their concerts went on sale today.
Words and photographs by Mike Beech