WRITTEN BY: ERIN BLEWETT
On May 27, the hype was palpable at the Electric Factory as the audience awaited the arrival of breakout electronic pop artist, Børns.
The first band to open for the Michigan native was a relatively unknown group called Beau. The group consists of vocalist Heather Boo and guitarist Emma Rose, as well as a drummer and a bass player whose names have not been publicized.
Judging by a majority of positive online reviews, I appear to be in the minority of Beau’s underwhelmed audience members. In my opinion, their stage presence was lackluster. Boo was onstage for the majority of the set, thrusting her hips and flipping her hair flamboyantly, while Rose didn’t move from the spot in which she began the performance.
Boo’s vocals, which were somewhat reminiscent of a whiny Stevie Nicks, detracted from the performance, inundating the music being played. I noticed looks of exasperation exchanged amongst the audience during the set, and it even sounded like the crowd let out a collective sigh of relief at the conclusion of the performance.
Next up was Coast Modern, a group hailing from Los Angeles. The only members listed on the band’s Facebook page are lead vocalist Luke Atlas and guitarist Coleman Trapp. Trapp also provides contributing vocals. Coast Modern features a drummer and bassist as well.
The indie group brought a beach vibe to the stage. The crowd remained fairly mellow, reacting only to each time Atlas winked at someone in the crowd – a recurring theme throughout each of the band’s songs. The vocalist was not shy when it came to flaunting his pretty boy pout and tossing around his golden locks.
The man of the hour finally took the stage at 10:15. From listening to his music, I was under the impression that Børns was a woman due to his smooth, higher-pitched vocals. When he was greeted with raucous screams from fangirls, it was evident that the rest of the crowd knew what to expect.
As soon as he performed his hit “Seeing Stars,” his musical identity began to make sense. Børns, whose birth name is Garrett Borns, embraces his androgynous persona. He donned tie dye harem pants, a floral button down top tied up to expose his thin midriff, and a leather jacket. All of this complemented his free-flowing brown mane. While the eccentric getup would have looked tacky on most people, he completely pulled it off. He even managed to look remarkably attractive, resembling a young Jim Morrison.
It’s clear that the music Børns music creates represents a part of him materialized outside his subconscious. It’s absolutely fascinating to witness an artist bare his soul onstage like Børns does. Despite playing to a crowd of over five hundred people, the venue was draped in intimacy from the first song he played to the last.
Børns made complete use of the stage throughout the set. He repeatedly kneeled down at different spots to get as close to the crowd possible. He made deliberate eye contact with fans in every direction, including those on the 21+ balcony. This is not exactly common practice among performers at the Electric Factory.
His musical style possesses a sense of innocent sensuality. Unlike the gyrations demonstrated by the lead singer of Beau, every movement Børns makes seems effortless. Though his debut studio album, “Dopamine,” was released less than a year ago, in October 2015, his live show in Philadelphia painted him as a veteran performer.
Børns appears to have what it takes to become a worldwide phenomenon, from his style, to his demeanor, to his electronic pop style. Maybe one day it’ll be worth something to say that I almost caught the napkin he used to wipe the sweat off his face during his first show in Philadelphia.