Live Report: 100 gecs – O2 Forum Kentish Town, London

Hyper-pop anarchy in North London...

100 Gecs are the epitome of music in the digital age.

The show is about to begin. An acrid cloud of smoke billows across the shallow stage. Whether its origins lie in the venue’s smoke machine, or the clique of e-girls bent over a pack of Benson & Hedges, is debatable. 

For this is 100 Gecs’ first ever UK headline show; a premiere anxiously awaited since the 2019 release of the duo’s deliciously unhinged debut album, ‘1000 gecs’. 100 Gecs is credited with helping the hyperpop bug infect the mainstream, using maximalist, synthesised farce for a new perspective on pop music. And fans go absolutely wild for it. 

It’s no surprise, then, that the sold-out concert attracted a crowd as eclectic as Gecs’ discography, albeit one with a strange dichotomy of aesthetics. Gaggles of hyped-up twinks in cut-off muscle tees and gaudy graphics elbow moody lesbians wearing unbridled eyeliner and terrible posture. From the mezzanine, blots of brightly-coloured hair disturb the dark landscape of chronically online teenage boys, sporting oversized hoodies and lank hair. It was easy to feel simultaneously underdressed and overdressed amongst an audience like 100 Gecs’, determinedly incongruous to the familiarity of an O2 venue. 

Incongruity seemed to be a major theme of the night; 100 Gecs (also known as Laura Les and Dylan Brady) had plenty of quiet surprises up the sleeves of their wizard robes, exemplified by a pre-show playlist that saw reggae segue into pop divas. The stage was startled on 100 Gecs’ arrival by ripping into the unreleased ‘Hey Big Man’ – the liminal space where breakbeat meets screamo. Les garbles a ‘Your Mom’ joke during an instrumental rest, before the track launches into glitching and pounding. 

The audience is, of course, already going hard, and by the time vigorous track ‘fallen 4 Ü’ rolls around, it’s jump or be jumped on. The wired, lashing organism that is 100 Gecs’ crowd feels ironically human in comparison to the hyper-digital noise being omitted from the stage. The screen of smoke and lack of dialogue in-between tracks seems to widen the gulf between performer and onlooker, but for a fanbase that created a literal pilgrimage to the tree featured on Gecs’ album cover, the duo are already held in very high regard. 

As the heat and fervour of an enthusiastic crowd rises, one is reminded of the Charli XCX fans vs deodorant tweet, when not being distracted by sheer aural stimulation. The performance reaches a peak during fan favourite ‘Me Me Me’ as swarms of experimental makeup-wearers rush for a better vantage point, ready for their haute couture outfits to be ruined in the mosh pits. A plastic horse and an inflated condom are just some of the paraphernalia being thrown around by the North London congregation. Someone loses a shoe, and it’s immediately catapulted into the disabled viewing section. There are no rules here, only virtual anarchy. 

Words: Gem Stokes

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