Electro / Electronic / hyperpop

Lest We Forgecs: The 100 gecs rave at Igloofest 

by Stephan Boissonneault

Strange electro dance, a smashed-up remix of some of the biggest dance cuts from the last 10-15 years is blaring on the huge outdoor speakers, and I’m trapped in a pit of thousands of bodies, swaying together in unison, like some kind of malformed entity. On the screen behind the performers and each side of the stage is a projected hairy creature that looks like The Oogie Boogie Man mixed with the Thumbs Thumbs from the Spy Kids movie. I find it disturbing, especially since it only moves every few seconds, like some kind of Kafka-esque experiment. 

I feel 10 or so shoes stomp on mine and a man begins twirling in a circle, trying to open up the pit. He succeeds and the moshing begins—it’s all friendly for the most part, except the one guy with spiked steampunk goggles purposefully trying to barrel into people. A girl, part of my group that has lost each other in the pit, screams a hearty “I don’t like that.” It’s her birthday. 

There’s a pit of mud water on the ground from the earlier rain. My brain waves start coming in; ‘Well, at least I’m not claustrophobic.’ ‘I could leave, shoulder my way out of this sweaty madness.’ But after a second thought, I don’t want to. I’m in the gecs pit and I’m here to stay.

It’s not a particularly ‘normal’ 100 gecs show, as both gecs are behind the decks, and we only hear two or maybe three of their originals. The show is billed as a 100 gecs (DJ SET), but I do find it interesting when one rowdy crowd member asks “when the gecs are on,” halfway into their set.

There are stand-out moments musically like the gecs’ tribute to SOPHIE with an “Immaterial Girls” remix or a hyperpop remix of Skrillex’s “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites” and other grimy dubstep hits. “I Can’t Stop” reverberates by Flux Pavillion into the winter air, but with a more industrial flair. We have happy digital hardcore, some UK trap disco, and a bit of house music, like a remix of Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ “Heads Will Roll.” For the most part, the set is a bit tame, which might have been a bit of a letdown for those who wanted to let loose and get interplanetary with the gecs catalogue. Still, everyone is having a good time, no doubt on the same level as the sweating spaceman in the front row, rolling like a tire down a long winding road. Gecs’ fans like to have a good time and they like their party drugs.

A bit before 100 gecs we were subject to the opener, Surf Gang and I along with a few other VIPs (pays to be media sometimes) were able to shake hands with a few of the Surf Gang crew. The joke gets old soon as six random guys all say ‘We’re from Surf Gang,’ while Surf Gang is indeed playing their set on the main stage. Eventually, those same six guys got on stage; it appears Surf Gang is a collective, a rotation cast of nine or twelve DJs. Though, the music wasn’t much to write home about. It felt like generic dance and trap beats, with a few moments screaming for a rapper to back up the mix. Every song always seemed to end with the members telling the crowd to chant “Surf Gang, Bitch, Surf Gang, Bitch,” during the outro. I mean, I guess?

But I will give it to Surf Gang; they left some sonic space for 100 gecs aka Laura Les—rocking her iconic black lipstick and edgy eyeshadow—and Dylan Brady,—sporting a Sonic the Hedgehog touque—to seamlessly blend in their “Dumbest Girl Alive,” track. There was no intro into the gecs arriving, so the loud THX wave was the only indicator that 100 gecs were indeed on.

I realize I have a job to do, as indicated by the camera hanging daintily around my neck. I’m invited backstage to snap a few photos of the gecs in action. I follow the media liaison to the back of the stage and spot a few of the Surf Gang crew forming their own dance pit behind the stage. There are only five or so people watching gecs on the stage and six large heat lamps. Here is when the full picture comes into view; thousands of people dressed in hot pinks, tie-dye greens, and periwinkle blues, absolutely losing their minds. Laura and Dylan are grooving on the stage, with a pretty chill DJ set up, switching on who is leading the particular track. That thumb creature is still on the screen and I fear he will never leave.

I’m told I can get as close as possible, so I eventually move my way to the stage right side and snap some photos of the crowd. Dylan spots me and waves his hand for me to get a little closer. Imposter syndrome is not something I really get anymore, having done this job for close to a decade, but that night I had hit hard. It could have been the little edible I had nibbled on a few hours before or just straight nerves, but that little wave broke it. So thank you 100 gecs. As I get closer, I see that Laura and Dylan are constantly talking to each other between the tracks, signaling when to drop the next memorable dance remix, like the future rave beat of “Satisfaction” by Benny Benassi; you all know it. 

I leave the backstage and find a festival worker having his own dance party in a mud pit. He’s looking for fire light his pre-rolled cigarette. I take a match out of my coat and light it for him. “These guys are great. What are they called?” It’s just a Thursday night for this guy. After the set is over, I slowly find the group of 20 I came with and decide it’s a good time for a photo. I herd them into a group and other randoms start joining in. Taking a page out of Dylan’s book, I wave more and more people in until it looks like a high school graduation photo of about 50 people. 

Laura once said “We’re not very good DJs” at the start of 100 gecs’ Boiler Room set almost a year ago. Well, you could have fooled me and the thousands there who stayed for 15 or 20 minutes after the set demanding an encore. But curfew times be damned, we did not get one. Still, 100 gecs left everyone satiated until the next rave down the road.

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