100 gecs bringing unique brand of high-octane pop to Chicago

The duo are in town for a pair of shows on Thursday and Friday at Lincoln Hall and the Aragon Ballroom, respectively.

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Dylan Brady (left) and Laura Les (right)

Dylan Brady (left) and Laura Les (right) are 100 gecs

Jairo Cruz

100 gecs’ reputation precedes them.

Their excellent sophomore album, “1000 gecs,” set the internet on fire upon its release at the end of May. It could generally be described as pop, that much was agreed upon, but the significance of that delineation was the subject of much pontificating. Critics called it a “wild-eyed genre mishmash.” As 2019 began to creep toward a close, the New York Times still didn’t know if “1000 gecs” was a reflection of the last decade in music or a glimpse of its future.

There seemed to be a thinkpiece for every gec, all 100 or 1,000 of them, but none of that really mattered to Laura Les and Dylan Brady. The masterminds behind 100 gecs were just doing what comes naturally, and what comes naturally to them is “making bangers.” If that means carrying the mantle as some of pop’s premiere innovators, then so be it.

“A lot of the pressure goes away because it was really natural, so if we just keep being ourselves and making the music we like, it’ll turn out good,” Les said. “Just keep making tracks baby, keep the bangers coming.”

The duo are visiting Chicago (Les has called it home for the past six years) with a pair of shows on Thursday and Friday at Lincoln Hall and the Aragon Ballroom, respectively. Friday’s concert at the Aragon sees them opening for Brockhampton, the sprawling hip-hop boy band with whom they’ve been touring for over a month.

The Thursday show, however, is all about gecs, one of six headlining shows on their “secret” tour that they’ve squeezed in among their Brockhampton dates.

“The Brockhampton guys have a really nice team and are really nice people, and it’s cool that we get to play for outrageously big audiences,” Les said. “The ‘secret’ shows are really cool though, they’re more intimate and you have an entire room full of running, screaming people, which is ideal for me.”

100 gecs with Tony Velour, Jeanette Andrews

100 gecs

With: Tony Velour, Jeanette Andrews

When: 7:30 p.m. Dec. 5

Where: Lincoln Hall, 2424 N. Lincoln

Tickets: Sold out

Info: lh-st.com

Brockhampton

With: Slowthai, 100 gecs

When: 8 p.m. Dec. 6

Where: Byline Bank Aragon Ballroom, 1106 W. Lawrence

Tickets: $58 and up

Info: ticketmaster.com

However you choose to describe it, 100 gecs’ music is conducive to that behavior. Those who care to parse through all 10 songs on “1000 gecs” might find dozens of subgenres represented on the 23-minute album, their origins ranging from doom metal to trap to EDM. To do so, though, would be to miss the bigger picture. Most of these tracks don’t end the way they started, but almost all are relentlessly catchy songs that offer something new.

“People sometimes tend to think it’s more experimental than it really is, but these are some super-normal songs,” Brady said.

“We are experimenting, but we weren’t going for anything specific, just pulling from a different set of musical reference points,” Les added.

Those reference points peek in and out of “1000 gecs” like a game of Whack-A-Mole. “Stupid Horse” is a pop-punk singalong at heart, touching on exactly what you’d think it might: losing money on racetrack bets. “Money Machine” is a near perfect pop song that might have been nu-metal in another life, while “Ringtone” is coated in so much sugar you’re liable to get a cavity.

Though Les and Brady met in their hometown of St. Louis, they wrote their newest album over a chasm of about 2,000 miles, with Brady based in Los Angeles and Les in Humboldt Park. They split production and vocal responsibilities equally, sending files back and forth until they were satisfied with the results.

“We both had our own space to flesh out ideas and we could do as much as we wanted at a time and send it back, so it was sort of a cool, exquisite type of scenario,” Les said.

The pair have big plans for their Chicago dates. Les, who admitted to putting about “three or four” alligators into the Humboldt Park Lagoon this summer, said the show will contain all of the “Chicago staples.”

“Fireworks, pyrotechnics, we’re gonna be hanging out with the mayor, we’re gonna be eating hot dogs on stage,” Les said. “We’re actually having the mayor open for us, it’s gonna be great.”

It was not clear whether or not Les was joking. Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office could not immediately be reached for comment.

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