Børns at Oslo Hackney
As a much-needed rain shower rolled across London last night, expectant punters poured in from all boroughs to catch a glimpse of American glam rocker Børns as he made a brief stop in London before continuing the highly anticipated tour of his debut record Dopamine. Such was the heat, he could be forgiven for feeling right at home (after all, LA is hardly the coldest of climes) and out of all present, it was clear that he was best equipped to deal with the conditions. Whilst the rest of us sweated our lungs out, the Michigan-born performer delivered a frightfully compelling set, bedazzled with soft melodies, catchy hooks, and soul-searching vocals.
Opener Seeing Stars was pleasant enough, and it gave Børns an early opportunity to show off his significant vocal talent. Dug My Heart was a more upbeat and snappy melody, with strobing synths throughout. The singer was almost breathless at times, as he tries to squeeze complex storylines into his somewhat short songs. It’s not a criticism though, as they are masterfully arranged, with each track seemingly telling a tale of either love found or love lost. No doubt the audience can easily relate to one, if not both, of those things.
Fan favourite 10,000 Emerald Pools wasn’t far behind, with its simplistic backing melody providing a more than adequate backdrop for some gentle swaying and singing along from those assembled. The Emotion was something slightly different: a basic guitar line and drop beat drums meant that this number had a distinct Coldplay feel, not that that’s a bad thing at all. American Money was a real pleasure, starting off slow and gently building and building to a thudding chorus, the kind that sounds far too big for the room it’s currently in.
Our encore for the evening was two covers. The first was a somewhat lo-fi version of Arcade Fire’s magnificent Rebellion (Lies). A nice attempt, but it lacked the punch of the sublime original. Then came Bowie’s Heroes, a touching and well-thought-out tribute to the great man, and executed superbly. There’s something about Børns that is tough to put a finger on. He carries the mystery and intrigue that so many other musicians lack. It’s too early to make comparisons between himself, Prince and Bowie, but as last night showed, he’s certainly got all the right tools.
Photos: Erol Birsen
For more information on Børns and future events visit here.
Watch the video for American Money here: