George Clanton and Acts of 100% Electronica Charge Up a Sold Out Crowd at Elsewhere Zone 1 Brooklyn
by Mica Kendall
I remember my first thought when I woke up to my alarm at 6 AM after a long week of school full of assignments and miserable class discussions was that there was no way I had the energy to brave the 20-minute walk to South Station and endure a 4-hour Megabus ride to New York City. However, I told myself that I am not a wimp and decided to brave my spur-of-the-moment concert decision. A week prior, I bought an automatic resale ticket for day 1 of 2 for George Clanton’s sold out show at Elsewhere in Brooklyn. The experience honestly turned out to be one of the best shows I’ve ever gone to and an eye-opening music experience that I will retain for the rest of my life.
Known as the “100% Electronica” tour, the February 10th performance showcased multiple artists off of George Clanton’s self-made record label of the same name with other electronic artists off the roster including ESPRIT, Surfing, and Negative Gemini. Starting the night off, George Clanton’s first project known as, ESPRIT, consisted of both George himself and Ben Pogson of Satin Sheets. Clanton and Pogson sat face to face from each other with two separate soundboards in between them as they played some old classic ESPRIT vaporwave hits such as “Summer Night” and “Withyou.wav.” Accompanied by a projector displaying geometric and galaxy visuals throughout their instrumental set, ESPRIT laid down the foundation for a night full of incredible, self-produced, synth instrumentation. Following suit, vocalist Penny Hazelberg and guitarist Leroy Honeycomb of Australian based band, Surfing, showcased some of their newest track off their 2018 album Incubo and expressed sheer enthusiasm for being able to play for their first time in Brooklyn. Lastly, Lindsey French of Negative Gemini delivered an energized set to warm up the crowd before Clanton’s entrance by going into the crowd and creating her own circle mosh pit during her upbeat tracks such as “Body Work” and “Bad Baby.” In totality, each opening act of 100% Electronica justified the notion of how much exciting potential is evident in George Clanton’s label. Not only is Clanton’s roster exciting in terms of talent, but also in the connectivity of how all of these artists are redefining the notion of vaporwave and generalized stereotype of rave music into a sense of newly redefined electronic music.
Needless to say, the built up energy from the opening acts created an electrifying atmosphere encompassing the entire crowd upon George Clanton’s arrival. From the moment that George Clanton hit the stage with the drummer, Aaron Shadrow, it was evident Clanton’s set would contain vivacious crowd energy throughout the entire rest of the night. Clanton opened his set with “Kill You in Bed,” an older track off of his 2015 debut album 100% Electronica. As soon as the built-up instrumentals subsided and the bass thumping drop hit, Clanton began singing the first lyric, “I want to kiss you to death.” It was as if all the pent up energy from the crowd was released all at once. Following the rousing introduction, Clanton played more fan favorites off of the album, like “Never Late Again” and “It Makes the Babies Want to Cry.” These hits spurred the crowd into a mosh frenzy with everyone jumping, screaming the lyrics, and trying to get as close as possible to Clanton as he high fived multiple fans.
Throughout the entire show, every time I glanced at a stranger next to me I would see either a smile, eyes closed singing back the lyrics, raised arms, dancing, or all of the above. It was evident to any spectator at the show that the crowd was radiating pure bliss. This sensation of live musical ecstasy could not have been catalyzed if it weren’t for the infectious energy Clanton and Shadrow exuded during every song seen in their sweat-drenched t-shirts.
Clanton never fell short in energy in conjunction with the crowd’s liveliness, especially when he would walk into the crowd and sing along with fans or allow fans to hold him as he crowd surfed. As the show progressed, Clanton played more songs off his latest album Slide (2018) with songs like “Dumb” and “Tie Me Down” where Clanton would display his multi-instrumental talent with his electric guitar. Additionally, a major surprise and treat in the set was when Clanton played the upbeat and euphoric song “Genius” (aka my ultimate favorite song off of Clanton’s entire discography), which dates back to his prior project Mirror Kisses.
In totality, George Clanton’s set at Elsewhere was one where for a brief moment in time, I felt myself get lost in the music and allowed myself to become fully consumed with an appreciation for live performance. Clanton’s set to me did not feel like a traditional rave environment, where the only thing to look forward to is an instrumental build up with a heavy bass drop. Clanton’s set felt like a concoction of a punk show mosh pit and an alternative rock concert that just so happened to consist of mainly electronic instrumentation. Clanton represents a sense of progressivity in electronic music to me that is unlike any other electronic artist out there, with his impressive skill sets in both songwriting and producing. As cliche as it sounds, I think the effect of George Clanton’s live show resonated with a ton of other attendees, perhaps best represented by all the raised hands who claimed to have bought tickets for the show the next day at Elsewhere.
Thus, the authenticity in talent and dedication to the craftsmanship of music affiliated in 100% Electronica has not gone unnoticed seen in Anthony Fantano and Pitchfork’s glowing endorsement of Clanton’s 2018 album Slide that entirely deserves all the internet attention. Clanton, aka the Vaporwave King, is essentially repurposing elements of electronic music and integrating it into his own independent sound. If your curiosity is not peaked enough then I highly advise you to attend the nearest George Clanton show even if it means taking a 4-hour Megabus. George Clanton will be going on tour with Beach Fossils and opening for all the south and midwest dates.