My photographer was having a rough day and mine hadn’t been much better. It’s been kind of a weird week after a giant snow storm that essentially shut down the Twin Cities– except for the places where she and I work apparently. Just the stress of having to drive in snow and the stress of not knowing if you were going to be able to get out of the parking spot you dug into the feet of snow on your street– it’s been a long couple of days. We were due for a show and, regardless of what type of mood she or I was in, we were going to enjoy it damnit! So, after grabbing a quite bite to eat, we made our way to The Palace Theatre and prepared for whatever the night was going to throw at us.
Due to an early start time, having to oblige our hangriness, and uber short sets from the openers, we missed opening act Mikky Ekko. Sure, we felt bad but, at the same time, had we not gotten food and just chilled for a little bit after work, none of the acts would have sufficed and this review would have turned out much differently. Regardless, apologies to Mikky Ekko. From what I could tell by watching the crowd after your set, you killed it.
After taking my seat up in the balcony the lights dimmed and it was time for Montreal native Charlotte Cardin. Although I was a bit far from the stage, it was easy to tell that Charlotte was young but I was a bit shocked when I found out she is only 23. Her voice had a very old-school jazz singer vibe and her music seemed to be much more mature than that of an early twenty-something. Her tone was sultry and sexy and, when mixed with the synth-heavy instrumentation, you were left with songs that sounded like they were straight of 50 Shades of Grey (and I don’t mean that as a bad thing at all).
Although there wasn’t much movement from Charlotte or her two band members of than Charlotte moving in front of the keyboard for a song, it worked. Somehow instead of finding myself bored with the lack of movement, I found myself captivated by her voice and calming energy. After what had proved to be a trying couple of days with the snow storm and getting stuck multiple times trying to get off my street, that calmness was exactly what I needed. With only two EP’s out and very little touring history in the U.S., I truly can not wait to see what this woman does. She has a voice that’s full of power and, assuming she has the drive to do the relentless grind, I could see Charlotte Cardin becoming a household name in the next year or two.
Headlining the sold out Wednesday night show was Michigan based BØRNS. Born Garrett Clark Borns, BØRNS has been turning heads for years and has been releasing high-quality music under the BØRNS name since 2014. Now, I don’t care who you are, chances are you know this guy. You know that song “Electric Love” that was played on radios constantly for a sold couple of months? You know, the song where you swore it was a chick singer and, when looking up the act, you still were fairly sure that the androgynous looking singer was a chick but, after doing research, you realized that it was a dude? Yeah, that’s BØRNS and, although I’ve never been a die-hard fan, I was more than excited to see what all the hype was surrounding this figure.
Much like Charlotte Cardin, BØRNS is a very young guy. At only 26 years old, it’s quite remarkable what this man has accomplished. With tours supporting acts such as Halsey, Mumford & Sons, and too many more to list, and two full length albums in addition to an EP, this guy has been busy and that hard work is obviously paying off. BØRNS has one of those voices where it’s unmistakably his. The second you hear that un-naturally natural falsetto sound, you know what you’re listening to and love it or hate it, you listen to it because it’s intriguing and catchy. If you mix that unique voice with his mega-pop instrumentation and his signature androgynous look (that even got attention from famed brand Gucci after he wore a Gucci suit on a late night show) you are left with an act that truly stands out in a pop-scene that seems to have been taken over by robots.
Last night’s set included an entire play-through of BØRNS’ newest album Blue Madonna which came out earlier this month. It was a bold move to play a brand spanking new album in it’s entirety but it was easy to tell that this move was the right one. The young crowd was singing along to every single word of every single song making me feel like the odd man out. At times it sounded like Garrett was struggling to hit certain notes but the crowd was there to help him out along the way. Although he seemed to struggle on certain notes, there was a sense of honesty that this gave the show. Too many young stars rely on pitch correction and backing tracks to pull off a live show. It was refreshing to see BØRNS get up there and give the crowd everything he had while still keeping it real.
Last night could have gone terribly. My photographer and I weren’t super excited about having to leave our warm apartments and travel across town for a show that neither of us were super stoked on but once we got to the show, we both ended up having a great night full of great music. It’s crazy how a show, even if you’re not excited about it, can change your entire outlook on the day.