Grimes Scène de la Montagne, Montreal QC, July 31

Grimes Scène de la Montagne, Montreal QC, July 31
Photo: Rick Clifford
The stakes were set high for Claire Boucher. Over the last couple of years, Grimes' live sets have been defined as being both wildly impressive and erratic in equal measure — her shows have, for some, redefinied how pop music could, and should be performed.
Grimes, accompanied by three excellent dancers/backing musicians, did not disappoint. Taking to main stage after "Laughing and Not Being Normal" announced her arrival, Grimes launched immediately into "REALiTi" after a quick "hey ya'll" to the hometown crowd.
Wearing a giant red headband and matching shoes, Boucher bound around the stage with abandon, her accompanying lady troupe hyping up the crowd alongside her. Moving through her latest, critically adored release, Art Angels, with a smile spread wide across her face, it was clear that Grimes was giving the audience exactly what they both wanted and expected.
However, shortly after club banger "Go" rattled the festival grounds, Boucher announced that she had the flu and felt sick to her stomach — apologized for not dancing as hard as she could (even though she was dancing harder than every other festival performer that day by far). Instead of clocking out and ending the set there, she kept going, arguably more aggressive than before.
After pounding out "Genesis" and "Scream" (which she rapped in Russian) with infectious, kinetic energy, she fled the stage with one hand over her mouth, the other on her stomach. Coming back on a few minutes later — with a production assistant hiding behind one of the on-stage pillars, armed with a garbage can — Grimes apologized again, announcing that she had finally thrown up.
Ending her hour set ten minutes early, she announced "I'm gonna dance the fuck out to this song and then go die after this." "Kill V. Maim" blasted through the speakers as Boucher triumphantly tried to overcome her clear, physical discomfort for the sake of a good performance, with the crowd cheering her on.