El Rey Theatre | Los Angeles, CA | November 23, 2015 | Photo Credit: ZB Images |
“My name is James Bay.” declared Garrett Borns.
As identity crises go, there are worse ones for BØRNS to suffer from as both he and Bay had simultaneous extraordinary runs at this year’s South By Southwest. But even if he lacked self-recogniton, the full house of the El Rey Theatre knew exactly who they came to sing with, dance to and scream at.
BØRNS’ plied his trade of buoyant, electro feels as easy and breezy as the Santa Ana winds with songs spanning his debut album, Dopamine. It’s his flair for retrofitted pop gems that smack of folky glam and dreamy euphoria that caused the show to sell out, as well as his penchant for personifying old school romanticism. Both striking and sublime, that falsetto of his that creates saccharine melodies acted like the drug and album’s title track that he insisted everyone in the room was on (insert high pitched, female scream here). And between the swaying of his body, the disco beats and the thick locks of hair shrouding the elegant angles of his face, it was as if he was everybody’s boyfriend: “…a lover in need of confession” according to “Holy Ghost.”
The playfulness in BØRNS demanded that he get just close enough to touch and that he swipe a fan’s iPhone for a mid-song selfie with band mate, Jon Joseph. In a nutshell, BØRNS was like musical glitter, as songs like the ice creamy “Past Lives” and coverage of “Bennie and the Jets” shimmered and “Electric Love” played like futuristic Marc Bolan. And tempered with the bass drop, strip-o-gram “American Money” and lovelorn “The Emotion,” is where things get more sensual: sometimes comically so if you’re in the audience.
That James Bay-guy is on to something.