Submerged in the Waters of George Clanton and Full Body 2: A Concert Review

By Issa Nasatir

In an age where paying $300 to watch your favorite artist perform pop ballads or blow out speakers with bass-heavy rap beats in a giant football stadium is the concert norm, how do you make a 90-minute-long psychedelic vaporwave show engaging? In his visuals, antics, and a refreshing approach to his setlist, George Clanton gave us the answer. 

In early April, Clanton kicked off a month-long tour at the Fox Theatre nestled in Boulder, CO’s University Hill, his first round of shows since last year’s Ooh Rap I Ya tour. In tow, he dragged Full Body 2 along. A three-piece group out of Philadelphia, Full Body 2 meshes the syrupy guitars and vocals of shoegaze and dream pop with bright synths and elements of breakcore, bringing to mind an internet-influenced My Bloody Valentine. Dylan Vaisey (guitar, vocals), Cassidy Rose Hammond (bass, vocals), and Jack Chaffer (drums, sampler) played a seamless set, ebbing and flowing, never allowing the room a breath of silence. When they weren’t playing one of their shoegaze tracks, they played shimmering, lucid ambient and breakcore interludes, allowing breaks from the crashing waves of drums and guitar as they prepared for their next track. Swimming pool floor shadows danced above us as the thick waves of songs like “fifty heaven” and “2g ether” washed over us, transporting us to their aquatic abyss. 

Photo by Alessandra Tornelli

Clanton took the stage shortly after a myriad of fluid tracks and quiet goodbyes. He wore a Michelangelo shirt riddled with holes hugged by a black leather jacket and was swagged out with boxy sunglasses, a silver ball choker, and crowned with a head of neon green hair. He documented the beginning of his month-long tour with a disposable camera, and after casually tossing it over his shoulder, finishing his beer, equipping his trusty plastic maraca, and screaming something incoherent into the microphone head that he had shoved halfway into his mouth, he flew into his biggest hit “Let it Loose.” 

Clanton’s music fills your eardrums and trickles into your brain while maintaining enough space, so it’s not too overwhelming. He invites you on an aqueous adventure as you float calmly at a depth where your skull should be crushed while throwing echoey vocals over liquid synths, submerging you in a thick tie-dye soup. He balances this feeling with his lighthearted catchy hooks. His vocals are usually drawn out and drowned in reverb adding to the slow spaciness of his instrumentals, but Clanton’s personality and visuals gave life to his hypnotic setlist. Water bottles were sprayed, beers were chugged, and vinyl sleeve corners were bitten instead of signed. The attention of this otherworldly character alone made us ignore the discomfort of getting blinded by a smoke machine blowing directly in your face and your head grabbed and shaken vigorously. Clanton was in the middle of the crowd as much as he was on stage, and every time he disappeared into the sea of heads, everyone swarmed toward him in unison like a school of fish.

Clanton’s visuals filled in the minuscule gaps his persona didn’t cover. A wavy LED background that displayed recurring images of spinning globes, alien heads, marijuana leaves, and his most popular lyrics materialized and moved across the screen. On either side of him, pillars of old TVs displayed anything from his name to scenes from anime and fish swimming around. More than a few times Clanton could be found hanging from them like King Kong, shaking his inaudible maraca with intense enthusiasm. 

Photo by Alessandra Tornelli

Clanton’s setlist spent most of its time around his latest album, “Ooh Rap I Ya,” and his 2018 album “Slide,” but he worked two songs from his 2015 LP “100% Electronica” and one of his biggest hits from his alter ego ESPRIT 空想 that he attempted to mix with the late 80s hit “Tom’s Diner” at varying degrees of success. “Bleed,” one of the two tracks from “100% Electronica,” was his encore. The dreamy track mixes vaporwave and 80s new wave with vocals that take bigger centerstage than in his other works, creating a track that feels like the apprehension of seeing the deep end of a pool when you were 5. He began the song by claiming that he couldn’t go a concert without it and he wasn’t wrong. We take the place of Clanton’s object of affection as he wishes us goodbye and puts a bow on the show saying “Someone can make you happy/Someone else can show you a good time…But not like I do.” And he was right. 

Photo by Alessandra Tornelli

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