Fans leaving Death Grips’ show at The Van Buren on May 11 did not say goodbye but “See you on Tuesday,” as the same group rallied for 100 gecs and Machine Girl’s show. A new fan base dedicated to the distinct sound of computerized music has given the upcoming genre a culture of its own.
100 gecs has been compared to Death Grips by Rolling Stone for becoming “online disrupters.” Moreover, Greg Gutfeld an anchor at Fox News made headlines over recent months for unexpected praise on air for Death Grips and 100 gecs. Both the bands that changed the genre of computerized music arrived in Phoenix during the same week.
No matter the generation, electronic music seems to be something that is indicative of the future; it sounds like the type of music aliens would be listening to in a movie from the ‘80s. The progression of electronic music is symbolic of the progression of technology and its growing usage. In turn, the popularity of hyperpop is representative of the first of many generations of digital natives: people who were raised with technology.
As digital natives, the 100 gecs’ fan base already has several traditions of its own despite it being the band’s second tour. What used to be the culture of fandoms based on years of following a band and tailgating has now been redefined by the use of social media.
Whether incidental or on purpose, videos posted of the crowds at 100 gecs concerts on TikTok have become trends, like playing video games during the show and throwing blow-up balloons, which have been repeated by fans throughout the tour.
When The Van Buren opened at 7 p.m., the first fans reserving their spots near the front of the stage upheld the traditions. One attendee held up their phone sliding through alternating pictures of flags with the crowd booing the flags of various countries and cheering on LGBTQ pride flags. The tradition is likely a reflection of the anti-capitalist lyrics shared by an overwhelmingly queer fan base.
At 8 p.m., Machine Girl opened the show with an unreleased track followed by “Status” off their album “The Ugly Art.” Status is a high-energy song featuring both the band’s members Sean Kelly on drums and Matt Stephenson at the mic with the ambiance of one hundred screaming fans.
The duo played a blend of hard-core rave music with only a few of the songs coming off their discography.
Midway through the performance, Stephenson the band’s creator was attached to a cord held by somebody on stage and sent into the crowd. In addition to the cord, another person on stage pointed at Stephenson with a large flashlight. The Machine Girl crew took necessary precautions considering the handful of fans pushing to leave the pit throughout the show. Several times throughout the night, The Van Buren’s security team guided fans over the barricade.
Tyler Howardell is a junior at ASU who said he wanted to see Machine Girl because of its interaction with the audience. Howardell said he had seen Stephenson jump into the crowd during a show at The Underground, part of the Nile Theater, which housed a crowd of around 200 people. The sold-out show on Tuesday could fit a little under 2,000 guests.
“My favorite part of the night was seeing Machine Girl jump into the crowd while still performing,” Howardell said. “In a room with so many more people, it was even more thrilling.”
Laura Les and Dylan Brady of 100 gecs were brought out to the stage after Machine Girl’s 45-minute long set. Only a few minutes after the scheduled time at 9 p.m., the filler music playing at The Van Buren was lowered. “My Boo” by Alicia Keys and Usher was paused and the venue was consumed by the sound of the THX Deep Note, which is also used as the intro for the first song on the album “10,000 gecs.”
The first two songs, “Dumbest Girl Alive” and “757,” off the latest album, “10,000 gecs,” were followed by one of the band’s breakthrough hits “stupid horse.” The song made waves in the music industry for being catchy and loud complemented by its dramatic lyrics about betting on horses at a derby.
“With silly and experimental music like this, you get a genuine sense of community,” Howardell said. “In day-to-day life, you might get funny looks from playing ‘stupid horse,’ but that night at the Van Buren, 2,000 people came together to sing it in unison.”
Following “stupid horse,” the duo returned to playing songs off their second album with its fourth song “Frog On The Floor.” During this song, fans opened up a circle in the middle of the floor and took turns jumping around like frogs. For the several audience members who showed up in frog cosplay, the moment was highly anticipated.
Halfway into the set, Les asked fans if they wanted to hear some of Brady’s solo music. Brady, a singer, songwriter and producer, improvised his song queue, giving him his time in the limelight.
While the set was beginning to wrap up, the song “mememe,” initially released as a single in November 2021, played as the second to last song of the night and brought back an exciting vibe in a room of exhausted fans. The therapeutic lyrics are about being overlooked in a relationship by someone who is too self-concerned to care: “Do I sound like a joke when I'm talking to you? / I take it back quick and I nod like, "True.”
The set was supposed to end with a song from “1,000 gecs” titled “800 db cloud,” but the fans demanded one more song. Brady and Les gave in to the audience members who stayed behind with two additional songs “bloodstains” and “gec 2 Ü.”
Tuesday night was 100 gecs only visit to Arizona during the final stretch of its North America tour. In its last week, the band will headline three more shows all in California until its last date on May 21 in Anaheim. Three more dates have been announced internationally for the “10,000 gecs tour” and the band will visit New South Wales, New Zealand and Japan in July.
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