BORNS at The Riviera : Reviewed

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By Shenali Perera 

If you’re sick of pitchy and weak live singing from overly popular artists, BORNS’ concert is the one for you. The lineup consisted of Mikky Ekko, Charlotte Cardin, and BORNS, who serenaded the Riviera this last weekend. This concert was an eclectic mix of artists with vastly different styles and sounds, from a One Republic-type pop rock to bass infused Amy Winehouse vibes to synthetic rock. From 8pm onwards the stage, and the background just a mass of plant fronds, was alight with a special energy that comes from resonant and transportive vocals.

The night started with Mikky Ekko, whose music was very Imagine Dragons/Coldplay-esque turned a little somber. Dressed in a Steve Jobs black turtleneck and shapeless too-short black pants, Ekko flung around the stage with the electricity of the performance. His vocals rung out from the stage beautifully, even better than what’s on record. He finished his set with his top-charter, Stay which he collaborated with Rihanna. Before that point, the crowd was responsive in the breaks between the songs of his set until Stay, where the whole theatre got up to sing along with him.

A short fifteen-minute break after Ekko’s set, Charlotte Cardin came out on stage. Cardin was met with even bigger applause from the audience, anxious to see the Montreal artist play. Cardin performed behind her keyboard; her name lit across the front of it. Her music was a definite departure from Ekko’s sound, more slow, bass-ey and synthy. The way she sang you could tell Amy Winehouse was an idol of hers, but she also reminded me of a more chill Marian Hill. Main Girl and Paradise Motion are my recommendations, especially when nursing a broken heart.

Old-school Prince and other 80’s artists played in the break between Cardin and BORNS’ set. Another twenty minutes later, BORNS entered from the darkness into God Save Our Young Blood, the first track on his new album Blue Madonna. He seemed almost ethereal, bathed in white and purple lights, dressed in an oversized tan suit from the 80s and dreamy vocals. The row of teenage girls went crazy at the barricade at the edge of the stage. The theatre erupted in chorus with BORNS, singing along until the final song.

Throughout the concert, there was a signer/interpreter for deaf audience members. Three out of his four instrumentalists were female. He did a rendition of 80’s hit Holiday by Madonna in the middle of his set, which I much appreciated. As he addressed the audience many hearts melted at his soft speaking voice, reminding me of how Michael Jackson spoke in interviews. He joked that it was nice to be out on tour, to have people polish your shoes and do vocal warm-ups with him. Most of the audience was made up of older couples out for a well-rounded and fun performance.

BORNS went through his new album and had a couple throwbacks, such as Electric Love, Past Lives, American Money and 10,000 Emerald Pools from his previous albums. I especially enjoyed his minor key, slow rendition of Seeing Stars. Unlike a hectic blaring rock concert, BORNS’ unique combination of synth, rock, and pop caused the audience to rock along with him and enjoy the beautiful lyrics. Not very familiar with the new album beforehand, I discovered so many astounding new songs such as Iceberg, Second Night of Summer, Bye-Bye Darling and Supernatural. His voice, seemingly soft on record, was richer and stronger when live. What an experience. 

MusicSteven NorwalkMusic