If Revolution Live seems like a strange venue to play host to a burgeoning indie-pop star, that’s because it is. On Tuesday night, Michigan-born singer Garrett Borns brought his robust vocals and sun-kissed brand of synthpop to Fort Lauderdale, and gave many of his fans their first experience in the brutal conditions that come along with attending a sold-out show at Revolution.
The 26-year-old vocal powerhouse drew a surprisingly impressive crowd for a Tuesday night, with the show selling out well in advance. Another indie-pop artist artist, Twin Shadow, opened the show with a mundane 30-minute set that was well suited for background noise for the many fans who had arrived early to stake out good spots for the headliner.
Børns, who quickly rose to fame on the success of breakout single “Electric Love” and years of festival appearances and stints as an opening act for bigger tours, split time between tracks from this year’s Blue Madonna and his debut record Dopamine, whose songs elicited the most substantial reactions from the crowd throughout the night. The show opened with a highlight in “Past Lives,” and from the moment the lights went out, the singer had no problem commanding the rapt attention of the majority of the audience.
A surprising detour into a cover of Elton John’s “Bennie and the Jets” was one of the more inspired moments of the evening, but seemed to perplex many of the younger fans in attendance. For some of them, their parents may not have even been born when the classic track was released in 1973.
The strongest run of the night came later in the show, with “The Emotion” into “American Money,” followed by “10,000 Emerald Pools,” three straight singles from Dopamine, all of which were clearly fan favorites.
Unfortunately, despite a few arresting moments, Borns’ songs have never quite been able to live up to his tremendous vocal talent, and muddy, strangely low-volume sound throughout the venue during the show only made things worse.
As most South Florida music fans probably already know, attending a sold-out show at Revolution can be a daunting task. By the time Børns took the stage, comfortable temperatures and decent vantage points were practically nonexistent. At one point, I overheard an exasperated fan say, “it’s like, no matter where I go, I can’t see anything!”
Around 9:45, it had become so hot in the upper level that the venue took mercy on the crowd and opened up the doors to outside balconies to allow for more ventilation. If it takes letting in outside air on a hot summer night to cool things down in your venue, it might by time to upgrade your air conditioning.
Despite the lackluster sound and brutal conditions within the hotbox that is a sold-out show at Revolution Live, the crowd’s energy was impressive to say the least. At times, the sound of the crowd singing along rivaled the vocals from the P.A. Though the show left plenty to be desired from my standpoint, it seemed clear that the die-hard fans left satisfied, even if they were a little sweatier than expected.