Last Thursday, All Things Go and Neon Gold held the latest installment in their All Things Gold concert series. This time, it featured GEMS and Tei Shi — two of the brightest names in pop music. The trek through the incredibly cold, wet, and blustery evening was worth it. GEMS and Tei Shi put on the dreamiest of shows.
Lindsay Pitts and Clifford John have been making music in D.C. as GEMS for only two years, but their sound is so complete, so fully fledged, that you’d think that they had been doing this forever. The two had in fact been making music before, under the Birdlips moniker, but scrapped that in favor of this new project. Whatever they’re doing seems to be working well, because there was not a member in the audience who was not mouthing or dancing along. They took the stage and and dove right into a very bass-heavy set full of woozy synths, thumping beats, glitchy percussion, reminiscent of witch-house band, Purity Ring.
The difference between the two artists, however, is where Purity Ring’s music has a cold, and sinister feel to it, GEMS’ music is warmer, enveloping you in a soft, dreamy haze. Their sound is romantic with definite dance undertones. With one EP under their belt, and an album forthcoming, their set felt very familiar. This may be a product of me listening to their EP on repeat until I felt as if I knew the ins and outs of every song, but this feeling lasted even when they played songs off of their yet to be released album. Dream pop is my favorite kind of pop, and GEMS does it so well and with a finesse that is so rare these days.
Having missed Tei Shi’s show the last time she was in the District, I couldn’t wait to finally get to see the Brooklyn-via-Bogotá artist being her sensual take on pop music back to the club. She soon took the stage and began singing, layering her voice on top of itself over and over until the room was filled with the most lush soundscapes.
Tei Shi is breathing new life into the phrase “bedroom pop” with her sultry voice and crisp production. In a world where many artists are trying their hand at the whole electronic R&B thing (see: FKA Twigs, SZA, Banks), Tei Shi’s vision is clear and she stands out from the rest of them. Throughout her performance, she had the audience wrapped around her finger; the crowd was almost silent at times, allowing the room to be taken over by her almost haunting vocals. She played through most of her EP, with a highlight of her set being a cover of Beyoncé’s “No Angel,” which she completely made her own.