George Clanton brings ethereal vaporwave to NOLA

Olivia Tanaka-Kekai, Associate Arcade Editor

George Clanton
George Clanton at Gasa Gasa (Olivia Tanaka-Kekai)

I was prepared for a relaxing Sunday night. Instead, I ended up going to George Clanton and Magdalena Bay at Gasa Gasa on a whim.

On our way to the venue, I couldn’t help but speculate what the crowd would be like. Clanton has been one of the pioneers of vaporwave for years, but Magdalena Bay is more closely aligned with the likes of electronic acts like 100gecs and Dorian Electra.

  

Going into the show, I figured that it would either be nearly empty or completely packed. I asked myself: do people in New Orleans care about internet microcelebrities who make surreal, ethereal hyperpop?

Apparently, they do. 

The energy in the crowd was palpable — hands constantly reaching towards the stage and clamoring to touch the inflatable alien Clanton threw into the crowd. We moved as one to most of the music. A sole body cloaked in custom LED lights and pulsing EDM. 

Gasa Gasa, a staple Uptown venue, is particularly conducive to the feeling of closeness demanded by the sets. It’s a standing-room-only space cloaked in darkness. In there, it feels like everyone is in the same bubble as the rest, amplifying the effect of the music. 

Both Clanton and Magdalena Bay make music that benefits from having a crowd so stuffed into a venue that they are all but forced to experience the show collectively. Gasa Gasa was packed wall-to-wall throughout the sets of both Magdalena Bay and Clanton.

The combination of Magdalena Bay and George Clanton is an interesting one. In the last few months alone, Magdalena Bay has gained an immense online following. They are arguably more topically popular than Clanton with their 1,119,005 monthly Spotify listeners, with Clanton’s 320,187.

I first heard of Magdalena Bay on TikTok, but somehow I did not reconcile that memory with the fact that they were who I was going to see. Their videos don’t make sense, but the music they make is good enough to ground you while watching them. They exist in a lineage similar to acts like 100gecs, to which I owe at least some of their popularity. 

While George Clanton has been making music for years, his following is much more underground and cult-like. If you like his music, you really like his music. His visibility on social media is nowhere near Magdalena Bay’s

That disparity is what I think made the concert so good. Clanton’s die-hard supporters mixed with the energy of people invigorated by the newness of Magdalena Bay in order to imbue each other with the energy they brought with them.