The indie-pop double-header of Børns and Twin Shadow at Revolution Live Tuesday evening was a Coachella-loving, flower-crown-wearing hipster’s dream come true. Both artists are touring with new records, and both could easily headline a show in any number of midsize rock clubs around the nation, but it was clear that Børns was the unquestioned object of adoration this night.
Still, it must be said, during an opening set of only a half-hour, Twin Shadow, a former South Floridian via the Dominican Republic, grooved hard during his homecoming. In a bejeweled jean jacket and black vinyl pants, the longtime indie darling crooned through a six-song set list that included “Old Love / New Love,” Saturday,” and “Turn Me Up.” The last was a standout for being an amalgam of an '80s ballad that shreds and a metallic shoegaze number that dropped Twin Shadow to his knees with every industrial crunch.
As the show progressed, his energy intensified; he spun more quickly on the heels of his cowboy boots, and he seemed to have more fun with every strum of the guitar. He explained the Florida roots of his music by telling the crowd: “Almost 75 percent of the songs I write are about this place.”
It was a proper warmup that, honestly, wasn’t even necessary. The largely female crowd was already frothing at the mouth. Fans brought plenty of gift bags, drawings of Børns, and a variety of flowers (including sunflowers, which they thoughtfully shared with Twin Shadow). The moment the lithe and lanky Børns pranced onto the stage in short swim trunks, the room erupted into shrieking mayhem.
The irony of such fervor is that the L.A.-based artist is about as androgynous as one can get. Børns' voice and mannerisms exist in a realm between male and female, which is exactly how he likes it. Yet he is a straight-up heartthrob and hero to many of the young women in attendance.
Perhaps the most
Børns, meanwhile, was doing his thing. “Faded Heart,” “10,000 Emerald Pools,” “American Money,” and “Sweet Dreams” all made appearances. Throughout, he couldn’t quite stay still. His dance moves shifted between slick '70s crooner and bouncy, excited cheerleader. A few times, in his white tube socks and matching Nike sneakers, he looked ready to spring into a gymnastics floor routine. It wasn’t until the last third of the show that he explained his outfit as a necessity for all of the dancing to be done. Indeed, he was so nonstop he nearly took a bad spill while jumping atop his piano, saving himself from slipping at the last second and playing it cool by sprawling out like a sultry lounge singer.
The stage setup — a palm-fronds backdrop and prism staircase complete with matching prism piano — screamed South Beach (which shows the similar gaudy tastes of California and Florida). Børns’ backing band, almost entirely female, was having a blast as well, smiling and swaying to the rhythm. At the center of it all was Børns, a glimmering pixie who was both delightful and delighted by the audience’s reaction, song after song. He was genuinely awkward and awkwardly genuine.
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Garrett, as his shouting fans insisted on calling him, danced with the same unabashed abandon as his fans do when they’re home alone in front of a mirror. He is the shy kid in the back of high-school classes who shines onstage in
The finale comprised just one song, his exuberant hit single “Electric Love.” With its opening verse of mixed metaphors referencing love as both candy and a quasi-drug, it was the sweetest moment of the night, the big payoff after plenty of flirting and foreplay.
After collecting the various gifts showered upon him by devotees and placing them on his Technicolor piano, Børns joked, “This looks like a memorial for me.” And it did, but he’s far from the end. If he has inspired this sort of feverish rabidity after only two LPs, it’s hard to imagine what might happen when he really gets going.