Elohim took the stage at the El Rey Friday night sporting a look that can only be described as ET-chic. Her small frame hidden somewhere inside a gigantic white hoodie, she exuded otherworldly coolness tinged with just a hint of vulnerability; I was reminded of the days in middle school when I’d sweat through 98 degree days wearing my oversized track sweatshirt just to feel the protection of anonymity.
The dystopian mystery deepened as she wordlessly took up position behind her keyboard and let the music speak for her. In lieu of crowd talk, a clinically soothing British voice addressed the audience between songs like some kind of Orwellian meditation tape. Her light show was fittingly minimal, putting the main focus on mesmerizing visuals by artist Chase O’Black projected onto a screen behind her.
The performance was an intimate invitation into the precarious and highly medicated world that Elohim’s music evokes. Songs like Xanax detail the terror of feeling out of control in one’s own skin while her production eerily mimics the soupy calm of synthetic stabilizers. Even supposedly fun drugs show their dark side in her newest single, Hallucinating, which was a highlight of the show. Huge, unblinking lizards filled the screen in what I hope was an homage to Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas during the tune’s explosively unsettling mariachi break.
Midway through the set, Elohim kicked things into high gear and shed her baggy sweatshirt, though she kept her face mostly concealed behind a sheet of dark hair and large sunglasses. Her onstage character is deliberately closed off and anonymous, a choice that, somewhat paradoxically, made me feel more connected to her.
She closed out with a quiet cover of Harvey Danger’s “Flagpole Sitta.” The late 90s anthem to angst, heartbreak, and depressive disorders served as something of a rallying cry for the El Rey’s quarterlife crisis demographic. “I’m not sick but I’m not well / And I’m so hot ’cause I’m in hell.”
This is music for people who don’t have their shit together. Elohim won’t tell you that it’s going to be OK, but she will give you a place to be on a Friday night to listen to dope music with other people who don’t have their shit together either. It doesn’t make everything OK exactly, but it’s close enough.
Bridge And The Wall
Universe Is Yours
Black And Blue
Love Is Alive
All That Gold
She Talks Too Much