Returning to Live Music with 100 gecs

I have been waiting a long time to see Laura Les and Dylan Brady live. Pre-pandemic, I had tickets purchased to see 100 gecs at The Bottleneck in Lawrence, KS. Soon, as things with COVID-19 ramped up, I began to lose hope that I would see them at all, despite the venue promising the date would be rescheduled. Eventually, the Ticketmaster refund appeared in my bank account, and I gave up.

But now, with venues enforcing both a mask policy and proof of vaccination status, live music is not only possible again, but feels relatively secure logistically. Waiting to get in the doors to see 100 gecs at The Pageant in their hometown, St. Louis, the event staff was incredibly professional and handled vaccine checks efficiently. Unlike somewhat questionable vaccine card checks at places like Lollapalooza, I felt sure they were carefully checking concert-goers' information.

i gave myself to the gecs pit and all i got was this stupid horse

Picture by Sam Wills
Graphic by Zoe Axelrod

Finally, I was back in a live music venue. The Pageant may have been the perfect place to see 100 gecs live, as it is a gorgeous and well-built venue for concerts. The night began with opener Aaron Cartier, also a St. Louis native, who commanded the crowd’s energy like no other opening performer I have ever seen. He knew how to get the party going, promote himself and show off his own skills, while still making sure the crowd was warmed up to see the headlining act. His performances of “WINDOW” and “GETITRIGHTBACK” in particular, were fantastic.

After Aaron’s amazing performance, attendees were really ready to party, and kept the hype alive until the gecs took over the stage. They appeared in cartoonish wizard robes, Dylan donning a pointy yellow hat with floppy points around the brim and bouncing comically as he performed.

The show contained a hefty dose of the silliness they are known for. Dylan kept his hat on for the entire show, and between songs the duo took turns banging at a small xylophone on the stage in front of them, creating a symphony of clangs and bonks. Laura, the bigger talker out of the two on stage, cracked jokes through her syrupy auto-tuned mic about the local fares of St. Louis.

“How bout uhhhhhhhhh Steak ’n Shake?” she warbled at one point. “You ever be out after a long night, and you go and get a frisco melt? Maybe a malt? Some chili mac? Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, I know all about St. Louis.”

Video by Sam Wills

I would be remiss to mention the clear star power of the performers, particularly Laura. As it was their first real solo tour, I wondered what their stage presence was going to be like, especially after blowing up mostly during a pandemic. However, at The Pageant, they looked like old pros. Laura specifically, I noted to my friend during the show, possesses a real “it” quality. She was genuinely magnetic, like a full-blown rockstar.

The set included an acoustic performance of “gecgecgec”, where Laura sang and the duo played guitar. After the genuinely heartwarming rendition, the audience began to chant “LAU-RA, LAU-RA, LAU-RA,” a sound that I hope she gets used to, because I can see it clearly in her future as a performer.

Highlights of the set included performances of “ringtone,” “hand crushed by a mallet,” and “money machine.” They also stunned with a performance of the currently unreleased “fallen for ü”, which was one of the true highlights of the night. The audience seemed both shocked and delighted that they played “what’s that smell” as an encore, which was truly hilarious.

After their set, I was left wondering why they didn’t include more songs or interludes from their 1000 gecs album, but of course I understand this tour is also to generate interest for their upcoming project. Still, I was just a little disappointed to not hear the nightcore anthem “xXXi_wud_nvrstøp_UXXx.”

At the end of the evening, I left feeling whole and high off the simple pleasure of seeing musicians live, chatting with new and old friends, and headbanging, not caring who my ponytail happened to swing in the face of. (Okay, I did care, and nervously asked several people around me if I had accidentally whacked them.) Still, it was the best return to live music I could have possibly asked for, and it felt like an incredible opportunity to see this band on their way to stardom in their own hometown.

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