Live: BØRNS // KOKO, London
Ahead of his appearance at The Great Escape Festival in Brighton, Michigan’s finest psych-pop star Børns dazzled the UK crowd at sold out KOKO in London.
Strutting out onto the stage, Garrett Borns looks as dashing and androgynous as ever, in a cute baby pink jumpsuit, unbuttoned at the front with plenty of nipple on show and a pair of red cowboy boots completes the look. It always feels so special when you’re at a Børns concert, not only because his visits to these shores are so rare but he always puts on a show and the crowd passionately lap it up.
The night opens with the latest single God Save Our Young Blood, taken from the new album Blue Madonna, blending straight into American Money which is taken from his debut album Dopamine. Børns is a natural performer, capering between the raised platform at the back of the stage and the microphone stand which he caresses with his hands as well as his ethereal, falsetto vocals.
The night really kicks into full swing when Faded Heart hits the airwaves, the whole crowd sings along as Børns holds out the microphone to the crowd, building to the climax. He is on his knees, singing passionately trying to reach every person in the crowd. It’s a great song to witness live, its lyrics are about heartbreak but the tempo is so upbeat and frenzied while the vocal range makes you swoon and throw your arms into the air. A definite highlight of many throughout the night.
Past Lives follows and it gives the crowd a chance to regain some composure as we are treated with some slower tracks. The room remains as vocal as ever as Børns once again blends another old track into a new one in the form of Dug My Heart and I Don’t Want You Back. Børns’ vocals are flawless and the whole night is a joy to experience, those vocals really hit you and give you goosebumps.
When 10,000 Emerald Pools is unleashed the crowd once again go wild and we’re in for another stand out song of the night. The crowd singing back “All I need is you”, their arms outreached makes me wish I was right there in amongst them. Keeping with the upbeat feel, We Don’t Care brought funkier vibes and saw Børns reaching out into the crowd, it’s a miracle they didn’t pull him off the stage. A few of the fans started passing keepsakes to him before he ventured up to the barrier during Seeing Stars, rewarding these passionate fans by serenading them for a few moments.
The rest of the night followed much of that which went before it, not that that is a bad thing, not at all. When the title track of the new album Blue Madonna started the stage was bathed in a blue light which was very fitting and a nice touch, and the more moody and sultry side of Børns was released.
As the set was starting to near its end the big guns were unleashed. Dopamine showed that the crowd still had a voice left and we went into the encore with Sweet Dreams, it’s such a perfect song to close out on and is becoming a fixture on the set list. Børns leaves the stage after blowing kisses out into the crowd and it’s not long before the whole room starts chanting his name and demanding his return for more music!
It’s not long before Børns graces the stage for one last time, with his baby pink guitar in hand for the ballad Clouds, once more the crowd join in singing “oh oh oh oo-oh”, it’s such a beautiful song that really showcases his vocals. It’s a simple and elegant performance which leads us calmly into the final song of the night, the fan favourite and without question one of the best songs of the night, Electric Love. The crowd are at their most euphoric right now, you can barely hear Børns! Børns is really feeding of the energy as he jumps in the air repeatedly and actively encouraging the crowd to join him in jumping and clapping their hands! It’s such a great sing along song and it’s kinda bitter-sweet knowing that we will soon have to be heading home.
The night lived up to my expectations, however I was disappointed that my favourite live song, The Emotion wasn’t on the set list and it would be great to see the stage fully decorated to replicate the Blue Madonna album cover, or at least have some plants, definite foliage of some kind would do just nicely. Thanks Børns.
Photos: Rachel Prew