In addition to figuring out what sort of musician he wants to be, there’s also the question of simply growing up. “I was pretty shy and reserved up until recently,” Gutierrez says. “I used to not be able—I physically and emotionally could not handle going up to people and being like, ‘Can I buy this maybe, perchance?’” It’s a good reminder that, amidst it all, he did only turn 17 in January.
His progress is on display at Dover Street, when it comes time to actually buy something. Up on the boutique’s sixth floor, we’re been sitting through the racks, our mission mostly noncommittal. Just as we’re about to give up, he spots a translucent tangerine raincoat lined with glittery, star-shaped buttons from Jun Takahashi’s brand Undercover. Gutierrez grabs it off the hanger to try on in front of a mirror. “Is it giving?” he jokes to Begler. (To me it was giving biopunk Elton John, though in a nice way.) The two debate for a minute about whether or not he’d ever wear it again—“Probably?”—before Gutierrez goes up to the register to ask for the price, which ended up being about what you’d expect for a jacket off the rack at Dover Street Market. He runs back, bugging a bit. It seems like he isn’t quite sure if he’s allowed to get the jacket, either financially or spiritually. Would his credit card limit even cover it? Begler shrugs, giving him the green light. He’s playing Webster Hall tonight. “It’s okay to do once.”
He heads back to the checkout counter, where he had to provide his name and email to make the purchase. The young woman at the register looked up at Gutierrez (who, at 6’4″ with a shaggy, peroxide-blond mop of hair that just barely clears his eyeballs, has a distinct presence), putting two and two together. “I literally just stalked your Instagram yesterday,” she said.
Later at the venue, Gutierrez is buzzing around the green room, wearing his new orange Commission jacket over a frilly blue tuxedo shirt. He’s nervous, but also “so fucking bored,” wishing he could go walk around the venue—except, as he reminds me, he is conspicuously 6’4” with platinum hair. Instead, he ruminates on his recent purchase. Standing in front of the green room mirror, he decides the jacket was a good call. Worth the price? Debatable. “My mom’s gonna kill me. Remember when I got those Prada sunglasses and she didn’t talk to me for two days?” he asks the room. “Actually, what’s gonna make her kill me is that I’m going to get a tattoo in like, two hours.” He’s gotten it into his head that he wants to get one just before his set. A hand tattoo, specifically.
Begler jumps in, playing both manager and guardian: “You’re not going to get a tattoo.” Why would someone get a hand tattoo before they go running around on stage? When we catch up a few months later, Gutierrez will inform me that he ended up getting the tattoo after the show—a teensy stick-and-poke starburst above his wrist—and has gotten two more since then, which his mom only sort of knows about.
When glaive eventually hits the stage, the nerves shift into kinetic energy, starry and rollicking all at once. (“I feel like every show I get better because my first show, looking back, I was literally screaming into a microphone,” he’d said earlier.) Turns out, bonkers computer bedroom pop can feel electric in real life, too. He’ll cover Vanessa Carlton’s 2001 hit “A Thousand Miles” and the general-admission crowd, many of its members born years after 2001, will mosh along. He’ll pause partway through his set, stage lights filtering through his jacket’s translucent fabric, to ask the audience, “I’ve been thinking about it all day: Do y’all fuck with my outfit?”