Photos + Review: BØRNS at Birch Aquarium (La Jolla, CA)

Green Flash Concert Series
The Midnight Pine (San Diego, CA) and BØRNS (Los Angeles, CA)
May 18th , 2016
Birch Aquarium in La Jolla, CA

It seems the sun was the only missing element to an otherwise perfect evening.  Børns opened, alongside San Diego’s own The Midnight Pine, The Green Flash Concert season held at the Birch Aquarium in La Jolla.

This was my second time seeing Børns live. I was lucky enough to catch him as the opening act for Bleachers and Charlie XCX’s co headlining tour, Charlie Does America when they performed at the Observatory in North Park.  I remember feeling there was something quite familiar about him that went beyond the noticeable psychedelic influences of his sound and yet I wasn’t capable of wrapping my fingers around it then.

So I arrived at the aquarium quite anxious to see if maybe watching him perform one more time in a much more intimate setting could finally put my curiosity to rest.  Not to mention that for all the times I visited the aquarium I never attended a show there.  The stage is literally raised above the tide pools, overlooking the gorgeous coast that frames la Jolla.

Waves crashing, fishes lurking in the pond and the wind rattling through the surrounding trees filled the air perfectly as the anticipation of fans grew in between sets as they waited for Børns to take stage.  A group of fans told me they had recently seen him perform at Coachella and they were stoked to see him here because they felt as if they could literally hold his hand -we were so close to the stage.

The crowd seemed to be multiplying by the minute as the stage was being prepared for Børns’ instruments and it became clear to me that moving around trying to capture different angles with my camera just wasn’t going to be an option so I stayed put at the edge of the tide pool barely clinging on to my camera bag.

The crowd fell into complete silence as FM 94.9 Cantore and Woods gave a brief history of the concert series and the Birch Aquarium and their combined effort toward natural preservation of our coast explaining how a good portion of the proceeds from the shows are donated back to the aquarium and the Institute of Oceanography La Jolla.

…”And then without further ado here’s….” and the crowd literally caught fire, girls were screaming so loud I couldn’t hear them introducing Børns on stage, not to mention I had a very close encounter with a catfish.

A brief hello to the fans and he opened his set with “Doug My Heart” followed by “Dopamine” and “Electric Love” which brought everyone on their feet all eyes pointed at the stage as he delivered a solid performance with his falsetto roaring strong through the night. He swayed on stage perfectly at ease with a delicate elegance I only found in another performer…and then it hit me! T -REX!!!!

What I had found so familiar and intriguing in his live performance was a strength of presence that seems expanding far beyond his young age revealing an old and very delicate soul that reveals itself not only in the masterfully crafted and rehearsed vocal deliverance but just jumps out of him as he naturally turns to interact with the musicians he shares the stage with, creating a warm and magical exchange of pure joy  that is truly contagious.

Highlights of the night:
Getting moved by the crowd during “Dopamine.”  His electrifying performance of “Electric Love” which further underlined the obvious chemistry between him and the fans.

His perfect and delicately balanced performance of “Holy Ghost” which still is my favorite of the album.

“Seeing Stars” which is so to speak more addictive than candy and is often on loop on my computer and  the magical end of the show with two larger than life cover songs, “Rebellion” from Arcade Fire and “Heroes” from Bowie.  Ever since Bowie’s tragic passing we have endured plenty less than complimentary musical tributes to the duke’s talent but Børns’  interpretation of “Heroes” has been thus far one of the few tributes that actually seemed sincere homage to an amazing talent and went beyond the simple stiff  interpretation of someone else’s song.

Don’t miss out on a great show and be sure to check out upcoming dates to see if he’s performing near you.  They can be seen here.

Set List:
Dug My Heart
Electric Love
Emerald Pools
The Emotion
Holy Ghost
Past Lives
American Money
Seeing Stars
Rebellion – Arcade Fire Cover
Heroes – David Bowie Cover


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