I’ll admit, I was torn this day. As a fan of Cursive, it was a tough decision to turn down seeing the band perform that night and see Grimes at the Rickshaw Stop. Also I’d heard many flattering things about Austin’s Ume (who was opening for Cursive that night) and her full-on rock onslaught. So my decision came down to who I hadn’t seen yet, and while I’ve seen Cursive and Tim Kasher a few times already, I couldn’t pass up seeing the Rickshaw Stop’s impressive line-up of psychedelic electro-freak acts. The Bay’s own Yalls, the theatrical Born Gold, the mysterious oOoOO (pronounced “oh”), and the new lo-fi dance sensation Grimes.
First up was Dan Casey, stage name Yalls. With projections aplenty and a healthy combination of crushing synth and reverberating vocals, Yalls brought an early and sizable audience to the stage. It takes a lot to grab the attention of a crowd as the first opening act. You have to factor the people meeting friends, getting drinks, scoping out the venue, snagging an early smoke before trying to get an ace spot. But the short set was able to hold their attention with minimal effort.
Uh..okay…how can I explain Born Gold? Let’s start with how these guys sounded. If you could avant-garde party music, it would sound like this. It’s for going crazy and probably for those of you that enjoy taking massive amounts of drugs. More power to you! But to be honest, I wasn’t completely paying attention to the music as much as I was witnessing on stage. The lead singer (?) donned a leather rock jacket fitted with lights on the arms and hands (like some kind of disco Iron Man). Each dance move he busted out was perfectly synchronized to the lights of his jacket. In addition, he had a drum machine strapped to his chest that he would play with from time to time. Oh and the other two members would wear hockey masks, wear weird ‘no-face’ masks, walk out into the crowd with a “synth shovel” on stilts, and dance with fold-fans that projected lights in between jamming on their keyboards and such. It was extremely difficult to photograph, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t having a good time throughout it all. One can only wonder if they had a bigger stage to display this amount of spectacle.
Next was the NJ-based/SF-resident drag-DJ oOoOO aka Chris Dexter Greenspan. Paired with blurry surrealistic projections and his own style of headphone-friendly dark-electro, the man himself arranged a dreamy and hypnologic set of songs. The set had blends of hype-worthy hip-hop, eerie trip-hop, and many moments of chillwave drag and atmospheric density. This set wasn’t so much for people to dance to but for people to mellow out and admire the calming mood set upon the venue. Chris ended his set by handing out flowers to the crowd and leaving the stage as his looped beats echoed until it gradually faded.
Finally, Claire Boucher aka Grimes skipped on stage as people yelled, “You’re fucking adorable!” They were accurate, she’s a bundle of fly-by joy and it shows with each song she performs. The show opened with her playing a great deal of her latest album, Visions. The audience participation of Genesis and Oblivion matched the playful nature of Grimes’ own youthful enthusiasm on stage. Her music generates a spiritual translation of true pop music and projects that with a DIY performance ethic and a visible expression of ecstasy. It became fairly clear that her main vocal inspiration is Mariah Carey and her instrumental inspiration derives from amore 80s pop aspect.
Eventually the members of Born Gold (sans ridiculous outfits) and a “dancer” took the stage to assist Grimes. After playing a few off Geidi Primes, she announced that she would rather just play the encore song (Nightmusic) and skip the “leaving stage” thing. It eventfully came down to the fact that her shoes were untied. A-fucking-dorable.