Friday, September 14th may have been a movie and wine night with your roommates, a date with your significant other in East Nashville, or even a bachelorette party on Broadway if that’s your gig. For some of WRVU exec, it was a sweaty night of strobe lights and mosh pits at the Machine Girl x 100 Gecs concert at The Caverns in Pelham, Tennessee. An hour and a half (depending on traffic) Southeast of Nashville, The Caverns is a pre-historic subterranean music venue with natural acoustics and a 1,200-person standing room capacity. Big Mouth Cave – the section of the caves used for live music performances – is large enough to fit a bar and bathrooms, and the gradually sloping, concrete floors allow access for patrons with physical disabilities. “The Carverns” effortlessly bonds music with mother nature, curating a once-in-a-lifetime, near-spiritual listening experience for each person who ventures down into the rocky chasm. In this article, attending WRVU exec members were asked to reflect upon their time in The Caverns and share their thoughts on the performances put on by Machine Girl and 100 Gecs.
The 100 Gecs show is shaping up to be one of my favorite performances of the year, with the perfect combination of dirt and dampness that only a venue like The Caverns provides. It’s a hard setup to come out to Drake’s “Sicko Mode” verse but the Gecs were uniquely equipped to keep the energy pushing. Particular crowd moments that shined for me: the pit with everyone hopping around for “Frog On The Floor”, the person playing Subway Surfers holding their phone above the crowd, and Happy Huagen (I think?) of Snõõper’s crowd surfing shenanigans. It was probably the most Doc Martins seen in Pelham, TN since The Flaming Lips Show a year and a half ago. Their discography fit nicely in their timeslot with plenty of tracks from both 10,000 and 1,000 Gecs, the latter of which reminded me of beautiful inebriated pre-COVID moments. Overall, very powerful and spiritual experience 10/10.
Seeing 100 gecs live is really something to behold. Having seen the duo twice before their show in The Caverns, I thought I was prepared for the energy they would bring. I was not. Right before 100 Gecs began their encompassing set, a person I had been talking to (who also happened to see the band in the same venue the night prior) said to me, “get ready, we’re in the pit.” At first, I didn’t believe her––there were so many people in front of us that I thought we had missed the zone of most intense moshing. Again, I was wrong.
As the lights dimmed and the first synths of Travis Scott’s instantly recognizable “Sicko Mode” filled the cave, the duo unleashed “Dumbest Girl Alive” onto the crowd. Dance circles, some friendly yet forceful launching of random human bodies, and a good amount of head-banging ensued. It’s suffice to say things got real crazy real fast. Compared to the other times I have seen 100 gecs, this crowd proved to be the most plugged-in and dedicated group yet (sweat included). The band themselves played a stellar set, one that gave justice to every piece of their growing discography. If you ever have a chance to see 100 gecs in concert, regardless of whether or not you know their music, just give yourself the gift of a good time––you won’t regret it.
I’ve never experienced anything remotely similar to the 100 Gecs concert at The Caverns. To enter the venue, which was, quite literally, a cave, we descended down an unpaved path, past ticket checkers who seemed to be no older than 16 and multiple men in maid outfits smoking cigarettes. Once we reached the crowd, having passed the $45 “I <3 Gecs” shirts, the full eclecticness of the attendants came into view. More maid costumes, wizard hats, frog-themed outfits, animal-esque features, and partial nudity were all the norm in the cave.
100 Gecs is a special band because they’re so strange. They give their fans permission to join in their strangeness. People who may not belong in their day-to-day lives belong at the Gecs concert (in a cave). As my friend aptly put it “in the cave, we’re all the same.”
I had the privilege of attending the 100 Gecs concert with very little knowledge about the band beyond their Los Angeles Boiler Room set and most popular song, “Hand Crushed by a Mallet”. The only context I had in my arsenal as I descended into the cave was a vague idea of their electronic hyper-pop style and warnings from my friends about the mosh pits that Gecs fans are known for. Even with my small frame of reference, I knew that seeing 100 Gecs in a cave was an opportunity I could not pass up.
Machine Girl’s performance was enjoyable, but not particularly inspiring. The venue’s acoustics may be to blame, as their already hurried lyrics felt muffled by the cave walls, making it hard to appreciate their performance. Matt Stephenson had a strong stage presence, utilizing his environment by climbing up the rocky sides of the stage as an emphasis on the fact that we were underground. You cannot say that Machine Girl performed without passion, but it’s difficult to cut through to a crowd that is visibly in anticipation of the act set to follow.
100 Gecs’ set was, by contrast, an instantly absorbing experience. Opening with Travis Scott’s 2018 chart-topper “Sicko Mode” was a smart move on their part to get the crowd – quite literally – jumping before transitioning to tracks of their own. The aforementioned mosh pits opened up almost instinctually at the first hint of a bass drop and continued throughout the set. I was hesitant at first, letting the more experienced moshers throw each other around in what appeared to be a senseless dance of masculinity. However, observation quickly morphed into participation as I forced my way through the crowd in a “when in Rome”-esque attempt at becoming a true Gecs enjoyer. My experience bouncing through sweaty strangers made me realize that moshing is the perfect activity to accompany 100 Gecs; “I Got My Tooth Removed” was a truly poetic backdrop against the huddled swirl of pushing bodies. Chaotically throwing my body every which way in conjunction with the music was a primitive (especially given the setting) yet liberating experience.
Other potentially useful links:
Machine Girl artist profile: https://open.spotify.com/artist/17Vw9uuOYB7XYjPt0LNFN0?si=vvoI2js-SyyQ0hibuRwNCA
100 Gecs artist profile: https://open.spotify.com/artist/6PfSUFtkMVoDkx4MQkzOi3?si=3yCcKM5dTbSCh-8aFPJD2A
The Caverns website: https://www.thecaverns.com/