Grimes Takes Over Boiler Room with Odd, Popped Out (Mariah and Britney?) Set

Tim Mosenfelder/WireImage
Grimes performs as part of the 2013 Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival at the Empire Polo Field on April 21, 2013 in Indio, California.

The electro star causes an uproar with her pop assault on the underground dance party.

When techno icon Richie Hawtin was asked to curate a lineup of his “friends” for a special Boiler Room party, he probably didn’t think his pal Grimes would drop the pop on him. But that’s exactly what the Canadian electro wave-core singer/songwriter/keytarist/producer did when she put on some Britney and Taylor Swift records during her set yesterday (Aug. 14). If you missed it live, you’ll have to wait until Boiler Room posts the full video of today’s show.

Boiler Room, an invite-only event series and free live webcast, has had a rollicking summer of top talent from dance music’s cool kids as the series’ prominence has grown from what was once an event for London insiders to an international tastemaking event, as profiled here on CODE in April.

Perhaps because of this credibility, the Internet fans of Boiler Room were less than kind in their evaluations of Grimes’ surprise playlist (pity Grimes’ Twitter defenders today). And while it might be hard to defend the choice of Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas” in August (though it truly is one of the songwriter/vocalist’s classic tunes), the role of the DJ has always been to keep the audience on their toes and engaged, which Grimes did without doubt. Hawtin, who also tapped Azari & III and Nina Kraviz for his lineup, tried to honor Grimes radio-friendly set. Though it was to lesser effect, he played Nicki Minaj’s “Beez In The Trap.”

Still, to say Grimes’ set was unexpected would be an understatement. Then again, maybe Hawtin really likes that T-Swizz swag?