“Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!” perfectly sums up the mood at the Boston House of Blues last night. Strutting under the lights, this is what Mikky Ekko roared at the crowd as he took the stage Sunday night to open for BØRNS. The performance was a show-stopping. Walking to the venue, it was clear I was in for a night. The line extended past its usual point, snaking down one street, curving to another and passing the bridge. This was a first for me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m used to the lines, but this line was at least 30 feet longer than what I’m used to for the House of Blues. I don’t think I’ve ever been more thankful that press gets to skip the line – it was rainy and cold. Garrett Borns might have one of the most dedicated followings I’ve had the fortune to witness.
Doors opened at 7:00, and I entered around 7:15. By 7:30, the floor was packed. Standing next to the stage, looking out at the crowd, it was clear this was a young audience of teenagers and twenty-somethings. Eventually, the lights dimmed, indicating it was time to get to work.
For those of you who think you don’t know Mikky Ekko, you’re wrong. Remember “Stay” by Rihanna? That guy with the killer voice, that’s Mikky. Since his performance at the Grammy Awards in 2013, his music has only gotten better. His new single “Not The One” is a jam anyone can connect with. It details wanting someone who doesn’t want you back. Everyone was sucked into his set as he belted, “I’m not the one / I’m not the one / I’m just the one you want for now.” It was a magical moment. His set was lit by mostly teal and dark blue lights with shocks of red and yellow, creating a welcoming atmosphere filled with bits of mystery, coordinating well with his soulful tenor voice. Clearly, Mikky loves his craft and loves his fans. Towards the end of his set, he jumped off stage and ventured towards the audience, not just touching their hands, but actually jumping into the crowd and remaining there until the end of his performance. He also spent time at the merchandise table post-show to greet fans, highlighting once again that he’s a down to earth guy, just looking to make music.
Next came Charlotte Cardin, a singer/pianist from Montreal. She was accompanied by Ben on drums and Matt on bass and synth. After she announced she was going to be playing love songs and I listened to her set, I have to say she might just be the queen of love with a smooth jazzy voice and sensual stage presence. Cardin was a crowd pleaser. Again, her lighting consisted of heavy dark blue lights, but she opted for an occasional smooth transition towards a magenta lighting. It added to performance, creating a relaxing vibe enjoyed by every audience member. Her song “Paradise Motion” captivated everyone with its interesting backing beat and her vocal range. While the verses consisted of middle range singing she spent the chorus soaring, leaving everyone feeling as though they were actually in paradise.
Finally, it was time for the main event. The audience was squashed as close to the barriers as they could get, waiting for BØRNS to take the stage. Screeches erupted the moment the lights dimmed. Everyone lost it the moment Garrett Borns waltzed on stage in his green suit and opened with “God Save Our Young Blood”. He wound up performing the entirety of Blue Madonna, his latest album, from start to finish. It was refreshing getting to hear a disk from front to back instead of the same old songs performed every tour due to their popularity. His lighting was all over the place in the best of ways. Lasers, strobes, deep blue lighting, fully lit white light. There was so much going on, but it all had a purpose and was all clearly tailored to the vibe of each song.
Frankly put, Garrett might be the Mick Jagger of alternative rock/indie pop. He gives off major ambiences of this rock legend from the hair, to the way he commands the stage, to his dance moves, to his bold suit choices. Granted, they are not the same. Garrett Borns just manages to embody all the positive characteristics found throughout the most seasoned performers, resulting in a truly captivating show. It’s clear fans agree, as they threw him drawings, flowers, and even a flower crown. As a whole, from open to close, this concert was perfection. Everything was planned out meticulously and done with purpose resulting in an unforgettable experience for every concert attendee.
Photos © The Rock at BC, Trish Jackson