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Grimes @ The O2 ABC: Raw, raving and never normal

Last November, Grimes released her long awaited fourth studio album Art Angels, an innovative fusion of synth and art pop. Within the first week of its release, the album sold 11.000 copies and was even regarded as one of the best albums of 2015 by several music publications.

Following the worldwide success of her album, Grimes announced her ‘Acid Reign’ tour, including a performance at the O2 ABC in Glasgow. The show began with the first instrumental track on the album ‘Laughing and Not Being Normal’ as the stage was awash with smoke and cold lighting, creating a hazy, mysterious atmosphere of anticipation. This slow, orchestral track then transitioned into the famous ‘Genesis’ as Grimes and her two backing dancers appeared on stage, and the crowd suddenly became alive. Throughout the performance the dancers, Alison and Linda, brandished swords and twirled long streams of ribbon across the stage, making reference to the artistic visual aspects of Grimes’ music videos.

Most impressively, Grimes treated the crowd at the O2 ABC to a special version of ‘SCREAM’ (normally featuring Aristophanes), with Russian lyrics. In between verses of fast-paced Russian tongue, Grimes would really let loose and let out a piercing shriek, making the album version seem more subdued in comparison to the raw energy of her captivating live performance.

The show’s standout moment was Grimes’ performance of ‘Go’, a track that was released earlier last year, originally written for Rihanna, who rejected it. This track was initially met with a harsh reception by Grimes fans who considered it to be a more commercial pop song in comparison to her earlier work. However, seeing Grimes perform ‘Go’ live was an amazing experience and the crowd went wild dancing to Blood Diamond’s heavy dubstep production, which was accompanied by dramatic strobe lighting. Grimes’ K-pop inspired rave eventually came to an end when she earnestly told the audience that she did not like encores, but wanted to finish the set with her own personal favourite on the album – performing the explosive ‘Kill V. Maim’ with the crowd singing along to the catchy, upbeat lyrics: “B-E-H-A-V-E arrest us!”

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The Student Newspaper 2016