Brooklyn-based electronic artists George Clanton and Negative Gemini came to the KCSB Courtyard last Wednesday to perform music from their latest album releases.
The setting was intimate, as many attendees rubbed shoulders and gathered close to the stage to get a closer look at the performers. The space was relatively sparsely decorated, with an exception to the stage and a single desk set to the side holding many small trinkets available to concert goers, courtesy of KCSB.
Lindsey French, who performs under the stage name Negative Gemini, opened for George Clanton. A Virginia native, Negative Gemini made her first splash in the electronic music scene with the release of her 2015 EP Real Virtual Unison. She was in a “vaporwave-minded” rap group with a couple of friends before taking on her current moniker in 2011.
If there’s one word to describe her music, it’s otherworldly. Her first song of the night was “Rollercoaster.” Her ethereal vocals disappeared into the instrumentation, which pulsed with energy and immediately invigorated the crowd. The repetition of the word “ok” in the pre-recorded backup vocals added to the kind of ominous atmosphere French creates in her music.
Another standout was the title song on her newest album, Body Work. The disjointed nature of the song was impressive, given the many subgenres of electronic music it expertly maneuvers through, such as ambient and techno.
A personal favorite of the night was her performance of “You Never Knew.” Her dynamic vocals were at one moment menacing, when she sings, “I was chasing you,” and child-like and vulnerable at another, when she’s holding her breath and “going under.”
There’s something both primal and ghostly about Negative Gemini that makes her stage presence and work enthralling. Perhaps it was the way she captivated the crowd, especially during the song “Body Work,” during which the audience transitioned from casually swaying their heads to full-on dancing.
George Clanton, her boyfriend, performed after French. Clanton began his music career by developing a loyal fanbase on the Internet. Last year, he released his newest album 100% Electronica, which borrows from the best of ’80s and ’90s electronic music. Clanton showcased his vulnerability with startling candor on the song “Bleed,” during which he moans after saying “someone else can give you what you need.”
The next song he performed, “Warmspot,” showed how much of a visual experience Clanton’s performance was, as well as auditory. Several different images of important pop culture symbols were shown throughout, such as the Apple and McDonald’s logo.
“Kill You in Bed,” the last song of the night, worked on two different levels. The lyrics show Clanton expressing his intense love not only for a significant other by saying he wants to “kiss you to death,” but for the audience as well.
Clanton interacted often with the crowd, walking up to several attendees while he performed, almost pressing his face to the phones with which people were recording the concert. Clanton’s intensity as a performer was in stark contrast to Negative Gemini, as he elicited an animalistic energy from the crowd whereas Negative Gemini preferred to fade in to her music. He very much worked to emphasize his presence.
Both Clanton and French were inspired, passionate, and original, and they proved to be stellar performers. Walking back after the concert, it felt strange to be back in reality after spending a long time in such a rich and immersive experience.
May 24, 1:07 p.m.: A previous version of this article misspelled French’s first name.