100 Gecs played Roadrunner – 4/25

The continually ascendent hyperpop duo brought their 10,000 Gecs tour to a sold-out Roadrunner with support from Machine Girl. 

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Where to even begin with last week’s absurd, transcendent visit from 100 Gecs? The whirlwind of moshing, CGI nightmare visuals and dental surgery ska bordered on hallucinatory, which is to say that it felt like the truest live manifestation yet of the duo’s futuristic, boundary-erasing vision.

Co-vocalists/producers Laura Les and Dylan Brady released their seismic debut 1000 Gecs nearly four years ago, unleashing 23 minutes of genuinely singular post-pop onto an unsuspecting populace and prompting all manner of reaction. You loved its genre-omnivorous mania, despised its excesses or were simply baffled by it, but you definitely felt something. I was a little late to the party, truthfully, but was very much on board by the time the duo announced a headlining tour for Spring 0f 2020. We can all guess how that played out.

Fast forward to November of the following year, and the Gecs were finally able to mount a U.S. tour reflective of a pandemic’s worth of buzz-building. They played two sold-out nights at Boston’s Royale and packed sizable venues all over, peppering the setlists with unreleased songs that teased a hotly-anticipated followup record. A year came and went without 10,000 Gecs, but this March it finally crash landed and ushered the pair back with a vengeance. The ensuing live show, much like the record itself, arrived bigger, louder and more unabashedly Gec than ever before.

I enjoyed both the 2021 shows that I managed to catch – one at Royale and the other at NYC’s Terminal 5 – but there’s no denying that Brady and Les have streamlined and amplified their live set in the interim. The setup was essentially the same – Brady handling most of the cues from a laptop rig on an upturned trashcan, Les breaking out an electric guitar for some intermittent nu-metal riffing, wizard outfits – but the energy of the whole production was on another level. A simple but wildly effective visual setup aided that, as a set of stage-level lights and a giant, arena-ready LED panel mirrored the audio bombast with its optical equivalent. Walls of flame engulfed the stage for the alt-rock-tinged “Hollywood Baby,” a titular “Stupid Horse” dwarfed the pair for that jockey-robbing jam, and sometimes just a blinding wall of sensory-overload color did the trick.

Gecs also have twice as many songs officially out in the world now, which means their audience had the opportunity to truly be all-in this time around. Costumed to nearly the same degree as the Halloween weekend Ween fans had been at the same venue (which is saying something), the sell-out crowd went off for pretty much every needledrop of the 23-song set. They were bouncing off the walls for “Frog on the Floor” and the aforementioned ska riff “I Got My Tooth Removed,” they were opening up a circle pit for “Hand Crushed by a Mallet,” they were sustaining a floor-wide mosh as enthusiastically as the Turnstile mob for much of the night. The sheer communal joy of it all – stemming from some of the most unhinged music to ever become this popular – was irresistible.

Openers Machine Girl brought a different sort of catharsis to the proceedings, ominously announcing at one point, “If you wanna get to 100 Gecs, you gotta go through us.” The digital hardcore duo presented a blistering, confrontational set of live drums, industrial breakcore cacophony and the live-wire energy of vocalist Matt Stephenson (who spent the last third or so of the set using an ultra-long mic cable to traverse the crowd like an end-times Matt Berninger). Fun stuff!

Photos from the whole evening below.