Negative Gemini at The Grand Social, Dublin, on October 17th 2018
Lindsey French wears many hats. She is both label head and artist, running 100% Electronica with her partner and releasing music under the moniker of Negative Gemini; a moniker which she took from an early track because she didn’t find the sound of her own name very exciting. Thankfully for French, she was able to pique the interest of many with her pseudonym. The moniker also came at a time of rebirth for her as she shed her teenage rock skin and embraced the more alternative realms of electronica and drone music via acts such as The Prodigy and My Bloody Valentine.
Though the instrumentation is thoroughly different it’s easy to find the influence of Kevin Shields in the swathed layers of synths which Negative Gemini utilises in her own work, and she uses these layers to great effect on the last night of her European tour in The Grand Social. She’s looking forward to going back to America, but she assures us she’s ready for one more party before she goes. And this is evident as she gets off the stage frequently throughout the set to dance with her fanbase.
Armed with a small bank of mixers and other electronic gadgets, the Negative Gemini live show doesn’t fit comfortably into the traditional ideal of a live show, but she more than makes up for the lack of musicians with her stage presence and attitude. A woman of few words, there’s not much in the way of traditional stage patter – instead French gets her message across with the aid of some highly political visuals featuring footage of drone bombings and police brutality recorded on dashcams. The imagery is striking enough on its own that there is no need for a Bono style speech on waste management.
The jittery ephemeral wash and rhythm of Bad Baby is an early highlight, with French pushing the track to its limits, so much so that the walls of The Grand Social are shaking.
French strikes a nice balance between the more trance leaning material from ‘Body Work’ and the more pop leaning material from ‘Bad Baby’. The transition between the two flavours of her career to date are surprisingly seamless with neither out-shadowing the other, and this mix seems to perfectly suit the assembled crowd who are visibly engaged throughout the show.
You Weren’t There Anymore is a heart-breaking reminder of the tragedy which French has endured in recent times since her sister was murdered and is a palpable highlight.
You Never Knew with its cheeky nod to My Bloody Valentine is well received, as is the Britney Spears sampling Body Work which leads as close to a sing-along as you can get on such occasions. Don’t Worry About The Fuck I’m Doing, meanwhile, is received as a call to arms to dance.
If you could judge a show by the queue for the merch table and how long the artist is genuinely happy to stand there and interact with their fans, then it would be hard to fault this performance. Thankfully for French her dedication to her fans isn’t far behind her dedication to her craft, if at all.