100 gecs at Lincoln Hall

By Shane Chung

5 Dec 2019

Jon Caramanica of The New York Times named 100 gecs’ debut album “1000 gecs” album of the year. Like a box of fireworks set alight, the album exploded into public consciousness in the summer of 2019 and 100 gecs — duo Laura Les and Dylan Brady — are now even being brought along to open for Brockhampton’s Heaven Belongs to You Tour. Lincoln Hall’s show, however, was a part of 100 gecs’ Secret Tour: a handful of dates sandwiched in between Brockhampton shows where the gecs had the stage all to themselves.

The first opener was magician Jeanette Andrews — an odd pairing for the show that only the gecs could have been the mastermind of. She pulled volunteers from the crowd while hypnotic instructions played over her demonstration. Although a volunteer accidentally let one of the balloons for her trick fly into the air, Jeanette pulled it off, revealing that no matter what order the volunteers stood in, or which balloon they had, the paper slips inside the balloons once popped matched the paper slips the volunteers were given.

As for the other opener, it was Tony Velour’s first time in Chicago, and, engulfed in smoke, he announced that he saw a bunch of “motivated individuals” in the crowd. Tony promised them they’d all flourish, which served as a nice segue to his next song, “Flourish.” Like the haze surrounding him, he breezed through a suite of cloud rap songs that featured dreamy instrumentals, tires screeching to an addictive melody, and I’m pretty sure one track that featured a sample from Super Mario World? He did a great job at hyping the crowd up, and even premiered a new drum-and-bass-heavy track.

The energy was palpable. Because this show was reserved for gec fans and gec fans only, everyone was a superfan — and everyone knew every word. There seems to be a punk-like quality to 100 gecs’ music: the crowd often gravitated to a natural state of “moshing.” In fact, while the DJ was killing time before Tony even came on, a small but significant mosh pit broke out to Hilary Duff’s “Come Clean.” You can imagine how crazy the crowd went when the duo actually came on, then.

The lights dimmed as Dylan and Laura brought their famous “100 gecs tree” (a plain Christmas tree) on stage. The tree, a cult symbol in the gecs fandom, adorns the album cover for “1000 gecs,” and posing with one’s head bent towards a pine tree like the cover is a popular meme among fans. If you live in the Chicago area, feel free to take a pilgrimage to the real-life tree itself: it’s only 30 minutes by car, and is listed as a “place of worship” on Google Maps.

The duo opened with “stupid horse,” a ska song (yes, I know, it’s surprisingly good though, please believe me) that had the crowd riled up instantly, and continued their show with a couple high-energy songs from their “Mine Gala” set — a mix they premiered at a music festival on a Minecraft server. This results in Laura belting out hilarious lyrics like “Got my golden pick / …and my 40 mag.” Later, “money machine” was an instant crowd-pleaser: as soon as the opening notes hit, everyone belted out the spoken word intro (which is way too vulgar for me to put in this article) in perfect unison. It was a truly magical moment.

It’s true that 100 gecs is like a sonic representation of the Internet, but they differ from online communities in that the duo’s music rarely dips into irony and sarcasm. Sure, they’re silly, but beneath the hyper-abrasive production, tracks like “came to my show” and “ringtone” are modern love songs about complicated relationships. 100 gecs’ music is unabashedly sincere. Laura expresses herself onstage by whooping through an auto-tuned mic, and her outfit — a neon yellow bra and rainbow cat tail — screams “I don’t care what you think, I just wanna be myself.” Dylan’s scarecrow-like outfit seems to mirror this sentiment. Perhaps this explains the punk-ish attitude from most of the audience. What’s a purer form of self-expression than, surrounded by people with similar interests, moshing out to music you enjoy? Cringe culture is dead, and the gecs are the glowing 1000-degree knife plunged in its back.

Like the Internet naturally is, their show was bombastic, hilarious and overwhelming, but ephemeral — over before you knew it. Of course, because they only had one album out at the time, their show was understandably going to be a little on the short side, but they didn’t play the extended instrumental outros in songs like “toothless” and “745 sticky” — both of which highlight the awesome production in their discography. They did show off their instrumental ability with some live interludes (Dylan played the keyboard on the “midi flute” preset, and Laura jammed out on a yellow toy guitar), but it left a little to be desired. I would’ve liked to see their show extended with songs from their EP or tracks from the duo’s solo ventures, especially since this was a more secular set for gecs fans.

I’m not complaining too hard, though. Lamenting about how short a concert is just proves how much of an insanely good time it was. And after the audience begged for an encore by chanting “ONE MORE GEC, ONE MORE GEC,” the gecs reappeared on stage. And they played “money machine” again. And Laura crowdsurfed. Hell yeah.

100 gecs’ remix album “1000 gecs & th3 phant0m m3nac3” is coming soon to a Myspace player near you.