April Harper Grey, aka Underscores, is an eclectic-pop artist worth watching. Her sophomore LP, “Wallsocket,” is a 2000s pop throwback that indulges in the absurd, the sleazy, the grimy, and most importantly — the subversively feminine.
“Wallsocket” is a record about collective experiences, tracks like “cops & robbers,” “Johnny Johnny Johnny” and “old money b*tch” take the listeners through an odyssey of the odd. While being very different in content, all detail the experiences that Gray synthesises of what Wallsocket, Michigan could be like. All songs are told through different characters perspectives, ultimately emphasizing the collective story of the residents of this fictional place.
The record is a concept album where the main character lives in the fictional town of Wallsocket, Michigan. She goes about her days and experiences with a vast array of emotions through a variety of topics. In her sophomore LP, Grey tackles pretty heavy themes of abuse, grooming, transphobia, poverty and mental health with a sound reminiscent sometimes of Lady Gaga.
Grey is on tour right now with Torr, a hyper/alt-pop artist from New York and Jedwill, a digi-core artist from California.
Torr and Grey performed at El Club, in Mexicantown (a section of Detroit on Vernor Highway.) The venue hosts about 400 standing in the main performance area, so needless to say it was packed.
Torr (the opening act) put on a truly eclectic performance. Ascribed to the themes of their debut album, “Molecule,” Torr walked on stage with a lab coat, goggles and a beaker full of water — while jumping around and performing their poppy, chorus-filled bangers.
During the intermission, a fun little game started making itself known to the audience. “God’s Plan” by Drake — a totally serious concert going song — was played a total of six times during the break between Torr and Grey’s set.
Then came time for the main act. Grey started with the gargantuan song, “Cops and Robbers,” a song everyone could dance along and mosh to. The set was a mix of Grey’s debut “Fishmonger” and her newest, “Wallsocket.”
Slow songs like “Duhhhhhhhhhhhh” and “You Don’t Even Know Who I Am” were interspersed with high-energy ragers like “second hand embarrassment” and “Geez Louise” — always keeping the audience on their toes.
In an interview, Grey commented on what it was like to perform at El Club and also what it is like making impactful music as a queer artist in today’s age. “It was fire,” Grey said. “I think it's important to be able to see the person you are in somebody else in some way. I think it is important to be that person for other people.”
Grey’s impact on the audience was palpable, people outside the venue kept referencing in-jokes made during the set, people were exchanging contact info, making friends and talking all about her performance. I look forward to Grey’s music and performances in the future because this was one to remember.