On Sunday night performer Garrett Borns, known simply as BØRNS to his fans, stopped by the House of Blues in Boston as part of his tour for his sophomore album, “Blue Madonna”.
Once the lights dimmed, the unmistakable synths of “God Save Our Young Blood” started playing. The low-key and simple tune was a great way to start the show; the juxtaposition between the calm melody and the loud screams made the song more powerful. While to some, the song would have been lacking without Lana del Rey’s delicate voice, Borns carried the song so well on his own that one forgot she even had a part in the song.
The show was lit with a warm array of colors and flashes on a collage of hand-picked palm tree leaves that transported the audience to the hazy deserts and coastlines of Southern California.
Borns played his album “Blue Madonna” top to bottom, which was a unique choice, but not necessarily a bad one. The album shows how much he has grown into not only an artist but into himself as well.
His stage presence has also grown, whereas before he often stayed close to his guitar—most likely due to his former fear of dancing—he now embraces the stage and connects with his audience much more. He has also mentioned struggling with finding his sound. However now, his wardrobe—exclusively Gucci—his very Southern California aura, and of course, his amazing vocal range came together to truly encompass the Michigan-born artist.
However, it may be this dichotomy that holds Borns back, despite the fact that it is a strength that he should embrace more. Behind his sunkissed sound there is definitely a deeper meaning and feeling to his songs that one does not always get from a “laid-back Californian”. Because of this, his performance was memorable and the audience was truly able to connect with him. At one point he reached for a girl’s flower crown and incorporated it into his performance. He also accepted a rose from the audience and contemplatively plucked the petals during “I Don’t Want U Back”. He showed off his powerful voice and range in his performance of “Faded Heart.”
However, he also shows that your worst critic is often yourself. He shies away from eye contact, and it seems that despite settling more into his new image, he still feels like he is playing a part, or does not truly “belong.” This was apparent in the quick flashes of insecurity that popped up as he often held himself in a careful way, as if afraid that something may go wrong if he relaxes too much.
However, these mannerisms in and of themselves are a strength and a cause for his growing fanbase. When speaking to some members of the audience, they appreciated these small things, because to them “it makes him more human and more real.” With other artists, one often feels they are unrelatable and harder to reach.
Going to a BØRNS concert is worth it, because you are able to see a side of the artist that is harder to hear in the final, polished version of his album.
Borns played “Bye-bye Darling,” the final song of the new album, and the audience was afraid the concert was over, but like the song-- that ends in a way that suggests it is unfinished and that this isn’t really “goodbye”--he came back wearing a white suit that painted him in an ethereal light.
He then did something special for the Boston show by singing “Strawberry Fields Forever” with Charlotte Cardin. He also made sure to sing songs from his old album, including “Past Lives,” “American Money” and a warm stripped-down version of “Seeing Stars.”
He ended the concert with “Electric Love,” the song that is often credited for his boost in fame. The audience’s screams continued well past the end of the song, and it shows how dedicated and appreciative his fans are.
Overall, the concert was different and more polished than Borns’ usual performances and the audience was able to connect with him in a very unique and special way. The performance showed not only how much he has grown, but that there is more to come. Most importantly, he showed that to be your best, you just have to be yourself, even if it’s hard, and even if it requires going out of your comfort zone. The people that love you will say, in his own words, “we don’t care.”
Maria Shah is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.