Concert Diary: BØRNS at Rough Trade NYC


On October 21st, Børns performed a sold out show in Brooklyn, the third and final night of a string of New York shows. His fall tour took him to intimate venues in a few major U.S., Canadian, and European cities; a chance for the singer to play his new singles“Faded Heart” and “Sweet Dreams” off of his upcoming album.  He’s also used the opportunity to preview the new album for a few select fans, Taylor Swift style, with the #LuvbirdLullaby sessions – one of which I had the pleasure of attending before the show.  I was sworn to secrecy about the songs so I will say the album is great and leave it at that. Børns casts a presence that seems to be pure magic, which hyperbolized or not, is undoubtedly present on stage. Since releasing his first EP as Børns in 2014, Garrett Borns has become very familiar with the stage.  He’s toured as an opener and a headliner, played festivals like Lollapalooza and Coachella, and performed on late-night shows like The Tonight Show. He’ll embark on his biggest tour to date in the upcoming winter, which is sure to be as magical as the stop he made at Rough Trade.
He opened the show with “Past Lives;” a fan favorite and certified bop. The aforementioned stage presence in full effect, Børns danced to the song with the Bowie-like confidence only a man wearing a diamond encrusted suit and platform boots can possess.  If you were wondering if this suit jacket had buttons, you’d be surprised to learn that it instead featured a string of pearls connecting one side to another. After “Past Lives” came the high-energy lead single from his next album: “Faded Heart,” followed by a classic from 2015’s Dopamine, “Holy Ghost.”  Next, Børns treated the crowd to an unreleased song from the new album, “I Don’t Want You Back,” a glittery, falsetto breakup anthem.
For the night’s prop comedy fix, fans threw fake dollar bills on stage during the everso glittery, less moody, “American Money.” Børns, who also happens to be a former magician known as “Garret the Great,” picked up one of the dollars and magically turned it upside down (a testimony to his spellcasting abilities.) Besides Jess Mariano, Garrett Borns is the only man who can perform close-up magic and still come out attractive on the other side.
“10,000 Emerald Pools,” was the first song of the night that had Børns play his guitar: a pink Fender Mustang so beautiful it was given its own short film.  After playing a few more songs off Dopamine and the Candy EP, Børns surprised the crowd when he sang his lovely rendition of Frank Ocean’s “Ivy.”  To close the set, he broke out the Mustang again for megahit “Electric Love,” a song that will make you smile from the first note.  After leaving for sixty whole seconds, he sauntered back onstage and, after dramatic pause, announced, “I almost forgot to wish you ‘Sweet Dreams;’” closing the night with his latest single.
The best thing about Børns’s discography is that every song sounds like a hit, not just the singles. Lesser known tracks off of Dopamine get the same excited response from the crowd as “Electric Love.”  Børns’s brand of pop is so carefully hand-crafted that each song can stand just as well on its own as it works to create a whole.


By:    Hannah Zwick

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