Photo: @HOBSunset Instagram
Beyond a curtained-off tier at the House of Blues Los Angeles, Lorde, Rihanna, and Katy Perry gathered on Friday evening to mingle and mug for photos at RocNation’s pre-Grammy party. But none of the former and currently Grammy-nominated pop stars performed; on this night they were acting out the part as fans. Perry and Rihanna posed for a silly photo with Grimes, the evening’s headliner, sandwiched between them. Meanwhile Lorde granted a lucky fan a photo and solemnly gushed on Instagram over Canada’s ambient pop duo, Majical Cloudz.
Photo: @jamesklowe Instagram
“one of the most simple and moving things i have seen, ever,” she testified.
And the Lorde was right. Majical Cloudz’s frontman Devon Walsh was the evening’s most riveting act. An inimitable presence in a simple t-shirt, black jeans and tennis sneakers, he drove each vowel forcefully home as producer Matthew Otto filled the room with swells of heavily sedated sound.
“Love is hard. Love is scary. You don’t want to go there,” deadpanned Walsh after opening with “Childhood’s End,” off 2013’s sweepingly gorgeous album, Impersonator. It goes to show that though he has a sense of humor, he is also one of the most painfully direct modern songwriters. “Write hard and clear about what hurts,” Ernest Hemingway once said. If ever there was a music who swallowed that creed like it was fatal poison, it’s Walsh.
Photo: @bobbyshih Instagram
Lucky for the crowd, Majical Cloudz’s brief but heavy set was balanced on either end by lighter-hearted episodes. Grimes took the stage afterwards for a near hour-long performance. Sporting a pixie-like dress, socks, and Adidas sandals, the Canadian DJ and performer frenetically paced and flounced about onstage, quickly turning the club into a Vegas-like affair, replete with bubbles and ballet dancers straight out of an American Apparel ad. They flocked her on either side as she played ambient fragments and murmured incoherently and aerily into the microphone. Grimes occasionally interrupted herself to play full crowd-pleasers, including “Genesis” and “Oblivion,” enthusiastically chime her thanks to various parties, and fling merchandise into her adoring fanbase.
Los Angeles band Wardell opened the star-studded evening. The brother and sister duo - heirs to the Spielberg throne who found music as an alternative to their filmmaker father’s passion - doled out sweet handfuls of sixties-era beach pop off their EP, The Brother/Sister.