After the release of their profoundly innovative 2019 debut album 1000 Gecs, it seemed to be written in the stars that Laura Les and Dylan Brady, the duo better known as 100 Gecs, would make massive waves within pop music scene. Friday night’s concert at the Fox Theatre in Oakland served as definitive proof that, two years later, such destiny has undoubtedly been fulfilled.
Amassing a notable underground following after the release of their debut record, the duo reached peak fame throughout quarantine. Unable to perform live, 100 Gecs instead played and hosted a vast array of online concerts, including the renowned, Minecraft-based Square Garden. The duo’s entrancing lyricism and incredibly genuine take on production proved to be a much-needed escape from the quickly shifting day-to-day lives of those around the post-pandemic globe.
More than two years after their initial album’s release, fans were finally offered the chance to celebrate the long-awaited return of the band to the real-life stage. Kicking off their 10,000 Gecs tour at Oakland’s Fox Theatre, Les and Brady came unquestionably prepared to knock their fans’ socks off. Running onto stage donning childlike wizard capes, the duo was met with ecstatic screams of joy and excitement from the thousands of fans who had been waiting for more than a year to experience the band’s iconic stylings in the flesh. With a deafening guitar track, two cartoonishly gigantic speakers behind them and strobe lights galore, the first show on the first Gecs tour since 2019 started off with an unabashed bang.
Packed by an eccentric crowd, to say the least, a quick look around the theater made the diversity of the wide swath of listeners which the experimental superstars had come to capture abundantly clear. From platform-boot-wearing, pink-haired Gen-Zers to middle-aged, beard-dawning hipsters, the audience was an eye-catching one — representing the unexpected universality of 100 Gecs’ undeniably specific and uncanny musical ethos.
Playing a well-balanced mix of their greatest hits, such as “ringtone” and “money machine,” as well as some of their unreleased (or yet to be released) bangers such as “what’s that smell” and “Me me me,” Les and Brady were eager to please their casual listeners and superfans alike. While a fair amount of the set saw the pair accompanied by their archetypal autotune and over-the-top electronic instrumentals, the duo balanced such extravagance with sections of unaltered vocals and even an acoustic rendition of the track “gecgecgec.”
As Les played an acoustic guitar and singing the heartfelt lines, “You can call on me/ Anytime/ And I’m runnin’ home to you/ Please remember/ Baby, I’m not stronger than/ Stronger than you,” the once-moshing audience began to momentarily sway, put their flashlights in the air and embrace their own vulnerability. This was immediately followed by the upbeat and heavily distorted “Hollywood baby,” which saw the audience fall right back into their excitement-riddled antics — dancing, pushing, shoving, screaming and having the time of their lives.
Granting the Fox Theatre’s audience a promising preview to their upcoming album 10000 Gecs, set to release early next year, the pair’s performance held nothing back. Ranging from guttural screams to barely-audible whispers into the mic, ska guitar riffs to dubstep breakdowns, the band seems to be traveling even further into the realms of genre-bending and meme culture than they ever have before (and if you’ve ever given 1000 Gecs a listen, that is saying something).
Unapologetically out there and hilariously unprecedented, the Fox Theatre, fortunately, housed the celebratory commencement of a new era of Gecs. With an audience starved for live performance and a duo on the precipice of something great, even groundbreaking, the energy at the show was near-indescribable. Ringing in a new, exceptionally attention-grabbing musical outlook, the 10,000 Gecs tour is more than worth attending, as time is fleeting before a Gec-inspired creative vision becomes popular music’s new normal.
Ian Fredrickson covers music. Contact him at [email protected].