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Centerstage Chicago Nightlife City Guide Arts Entertainment Chicago Illinois
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Grimes Review

Friday Oct 26, 2012.     By Jeff D. Min
Centerstage Chicago Nightlife City Guide Arts

photo: Jeff Min
Sweet, vivacious, dainty, Grimes is all these things. Chicago is not. But here she is at the Metro, spreading her love over a grizzled city with a big smile, a bounce in her step, and flowers. How could you say no? She has a hold on her fanbase. She’s a generational fixture. Style and gallantry is her MO, and lightening in a bottle is what she is.

Her set up is simple. Three keyboards—one for her, and the others for her bandmates. Grimes enters the stage in a fur coat. Shrieks from the crowd pierce the ear. It’s too big, the coat, and she’s drowning in it. But it’s endearing in that way, adorable. Her style exactly. More shrieks, a chorus of I love you’s—timid fans whisper “she's so cute.” Grimes.

Her bandmates enter, veiled head to toe. Ambiguous. Nothing can be taken at face value; off-kilter cute. It’s a perfect laugh, Grimes knows I’m sure. Her set opens, and like uncorking a bottle of champagne the bubbles fly. Visions take flight. Crowd erupts, the sound isn’t great, nor is Grimes' voice, but at this point it’s style that takes center stage. Pop princesses don’t need to be the best, the subjects just tell them that they are.

On stage there are piles of stuffed animals: dolphins, Teletubbies, and a giant Pikachu—to name a few. Two girls emerge from backstage, faces painted green, and dressed for…bed. They lip-synch right alongside Grimes, grinding and dancing as if nobody were watching—grinding on the ground, grinding on each other, grinding on Pikachu. They dance and play with each other’s hair, meanwhile Grimes is soundtracking their lives, a glimpse into what a young teenage girl does when no one is around. Maybe. At least for Grimes.

photo: Jeff Min
photo: Jeff Min

Grimes’ new album is gold. Or diamonds rather, sparkling pink diamonds—precious stones with circuitous value. She holds her fans in much the same manner. Admiring and appreciating each one, holding them up to the light to measure the value, and perhaps even to catch a glimpse of her own image. She wants them to be a part of what she sees, when her reflection looks back.

She is not a great performer. Live elements, the venue, the city, the smells of reality are too much for her constructed dream world, maybe that’s the point. She’s an escape, or maybe she’s just visiting. She doesn’t belong, and that’s part of what makes her great.

photo: Jeff Min
photo: Jeff Min


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