Photographs by Sarah Rix.
The icing on top of a successful show in Toronto is a “Hotline Bling” cover, which goes to show that BØRNS likes to go the extra mile in the best of ways for his audience. A first-timer in Toronto performing at The Phoenix Concert Theatre, BØRNS’ psychedelic pop and moody ballads from his just-released debut album Dopamine easily found its way with the sing-a-long tendencies of his sold out audience. “So they hold auditions for this?” he asked midway, in awe of the reception.
It’s easy to crush on BØRNS with his sweet demeanor, dreamy California hair (a by-product of living there; he’s actually from Michigan) and his romantic renaissance on Dopamine, which plays well with a proper backup band. Songs like “American Money” and “The Emotion” felt fuller live, only to be punctuated by BØRNS’ gorgeous falsetto. Though breakout hit “10,000 Emerald Pools” peaked early in the show, there was more than enough of BORNS’ whimsical vibe and performativity to keep things moving. By the time that Drake cover came into play, there wasn’t much else for BØRNS to do but smile; and there were more than enough of those to go around.
Opening act Avid Dancer is a peculiar mix of romantic folk, psychedelic new wave and at times, rock, but such a blend will likely end up on many people’s playlists in the near future. At the helm of this balancing act is singer Jacob Summers, a former U.S. Marine who shifted his pursuits and luckily for us, turned to music. With feather-light vocals and distinct guitar and drumlines on songs like “Not Far To Go” and “All The Other Girls” from Avid Dancer’s debut 1st Bath, it wasn’t long before Summers’ lured Toronto onto his sonic train, a rather romantic ride perfect for a mid-week pick me up.