Philadelphia was in for a big treat May 27 as the hot new indie pop artist BORNS made his stop at the Electric Factory on his “Dopamine Tour.” Originally from Grand Haven, Michigan, Garrett Borns, the main singer-songwriter in the band, eventually moved out to Los Angeles to pursue his dream of being a professional musician. He released his debut studio album, “Dopamine,” October 2015, which caught the attention of many music lovers. His catchy hit song that raced to the top of the charts, “Electric Love.” is the type of song that will not leave your head once you hear it. I discovered BORNS last summer after I saw the name on a lot of festival lineups. Listening to his music instantly got me hooked and I had it on repeat for weeks after. When I saw that BORNS was coming to Philly, I immediately found tickets and was looking forward to the concert for months.
The two opening bands, Beau and Coast Modern, started the night off strong with their unique rock sounds. Beau, consisting of two trendy female singers, opened up first with an embellished soul and folk rock flair. I for one was very impressed and enjoyed their unique sound, as they somewhat resembled an interesting combination of Lana Del Rey and Gwen Stefani with a little bit of soul. After them, Coast Modern, a male duo from Los Angeles, made their way onto the stage. The crowd was instantly captivated by their laid-back, delightful indie pop and rock sounds flavored with their unique West coast vibes. I couldn’t help but compare their style to a pop, synth-based production similar to that of the band Cage the Elephant.
Finally, when the luminescent backdrop with a scenic mountain range and colorful clouds and the name BORNS impressed on it lit up, it was time for the band to dominate the stage. Garrett Borns walked out in a black leather jacket and baggy ripped jeans outlining his unique chic look, and began with the sweet rhythmic song “Dug My Heart” off of the “Dopamine” album. After starting out with a euphoric vibe, he shifted gears and sang the song, “Seeing Stars,” from his first EP, “Candy.” It was hard not to smile and dance during the electro-pop infusion that brought a lively ambiance to the crowd. He continued to sing songs off both albums, enthralling the crowd as the band’s authentic tone acted as a distinctive foundation for his voice. This tone was very prominent during the band’s entire performance and could probably not be felt as thoroughly just by listening to the recorded version of the songs. Garrett Borns’ dreamy vocals were emotionally rich in a way that allowed his feelings behind the lyrics to connect with the crowd and had everyone mesmerized by the end of every song. One of my favorite performances in which I felt this was embossed in the most was “The Emotion.” The band exemplified the dynamics of each verse and chorus to reveal the tenderness behind the lyrics and the song’s sentimental value. The ambient vocals supported this and moved the crowd in a surreal way.
The band saved two of the best songs for last: “American Money” and “Electric Love.” “American Money” demonstrates the reoccurring theme of symbolic love encounters that the album divulges, and the colorful aura of the band was immense in the sounds coming from the washed out 808s, bold background vocals and guitar and synths amplifying the catchy melody. His closing song was what we all anticipated: “Electric Love.” The guitar riff in the beginning of the song instantly had the crowd ecstatic as everyone sang along to every word. The band demonstrated radiant dynamics and energy while performing the anthemic song. But to everyone’s surprise, BORNS came back out to the stage after and finished up the set with a breath-taking encore, covering the song “Heroes,” as a tribute to David Bowie. After the final performance, you could definitely say that “Dopamine” was rushing through the crowd, leaving an epic end to quite an amazing concert.