Fort York Garrison Common, Toronto ON, July 19

Photo: Shane Parent

BY Matthew RitchiePublished Jul 20, 2014

Strange was the scene at Toronto's TIME Festival for the night's final performance, Canadian-born Claire Boucher (more commonly known as Grimes). While festivalgoers waited hours in the drizzle and heavy rainfall for what seemed like the festival's finale, in reality, roughly a third in attendance were simply there to get their dance on to 22-year-old Australian DJ and producer Flume. Whether it was the continuous rain or the lack of any EDM-inspired music for the rest of the evening, a mass exodus occurred shortly after his set, leaving only a core group of diehards for Grimes' Toronto return.

As glowing gloves, swinging lights and other artifacts from the golden age of rave lit up the crowd, Grimes ran out onto the stage and addressed the small but sizable crowd with an enthusiastic "Howdy!"

"I haven't been in Canada for months," she told the audience. "I'm so happy to be back." In truth, she had played in her native BC just a day before, but Grimes still gave it like joining the stage was her very first step on Canadian ground.

Similar to the previous night's performance, tracks like "Oblivion," the Rihanna-rejected "Go" and the Blood Diamonds collab "Phone Sex" each made their appearance, but the highlight of the night came in the form of two surprises. The first was a crew of mimes. The second (and more important addition) was a pair of new songs.

Apologizing for her haphazard approach and its depressing subject matter (which she vaguely described as being "about a friend"), Grimes came to the front of the stage with a lyrical sheet in tow to perform the first of two upbeat pop jams. While not as industrially-tinged as 2012's Visions, the songs still managed to hold listeners attention thanks to their more populist instrumentation, hip-hop aping beats and smooth chord progressions. Perhaps most striking about the two new songs was their vocal clarity, which found Grimes throwing away the heavily processed vocal feeds found in her previous material in favour of a more natural delivery.

Following such a confident display, Grimes closed the set with a fairly by-the-books "Genesis," which was rushed to finish before the organizers' cut the mics (the Toronto venue has a strict 11 p.m. end time).

The set lasted well under an hour, but thankfully gave fans a taste of some new material that is surely on its way.

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