Concert review: 100 gecs w/ Machine Girl | 04.15.23, The Pageant (with photo gallery)

Photo of Laura Les from 100 gecs by Jen Ruff

The Pageant hosted meme-tastic hyperpop heroes 100 gecs and special guest Machine Girl for a night of euphoric noise and aggro dancing that was only enhanced by the evening’s thunder and hail. It was a homecoming of sorts for Laura Les and Dylan Brady, the duo behind 100 gecs, who formed in St. Louis but are now based in LA.

Machine Girl took the stage at 8:00 and played a blistering set that was over too soon. This was my second time in the audience for Machine Girl, and they paired well with 100 gecs. Both artists blend surreal, hi-BPM dance music with dissonance and lyrical absurdity, usually in two minutes or less. 

The Long Island-based electronic duo Machine Girl plays a mixture of industrial, digital hardcore, and footwork-style EDM. Their shows feature live drumming and lean more towards the aggro side. It’s hard to distinguish individual tracks in the maelstrom; still, I recognized several songs from their latest full length, 2020’s U-Void Synthesizer. They also played fan favorite “Aloth a Go-Go” from 2017’s …Because I’m Young, Arrogant, and Hate Everything You Stand For, arguably their strongest release.

The spacious Pageant was nearly packed by the time 100 gecs took the stage. The group has gained a rabid online following since their 2019 debut, 1000 gecs. They released a glut of singles and a remix album in the four years since; they released their hotly anticipated follow-up, 10,000 gecs, just last month. Was it ten times better than the debut, or ten times as gec? That’s a matter of personal taste. The new album adds more flavor to the sonic soup, with touches of pop punk and ska. With goofy songs about party frogs and nasty tooth extractions, it has a real Ween vibe. It might also have their best single yet, the ‘00s alt rock-influenced “Hollywood Baby.”

100 gecs played a killer set that included most of 10,000 gecs plus tracks from the debut and the EPs. All of the fan favorites were included, like the deliriously distorted pop rap assault “Money Machine” and the surprisingly sweet “Ringtone.”

Some tracks that I found unmemorable or borderline annoying on album sounded much better live, thanks to Les and Brady’s great chemistry and crowd work. Les teed up an acoustic set by asking the crowd for suggestions, then saying they’d play “Wonderwall.” (They did not play “Wonderwall.”) Brady impressively balanced an acoustic guitar on his chin for about 10 seconds. It’s clear that 100 gecs love their jobs and their audience.

100 gecs and Machine Girl will continue their tour with dates on the east coast, Texas and Florida before coming home to California. They’ll be joined by Swedish avant-garde synthpop artist Fever Ray (a.k.a. Karin Driejer, one-half of the legendary The Knife) on at least one date. It could be years before we get 100,000 gecs, so if you missed them, you’d better hurry. | Rob Von Nordheim

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