BROODS at Theatre Fairmount, April 13, 2019

Ever since the success of their single “Bridges”, from their debut album Evergreen, released in 2014, New Zealand music duo BROODS has held a special place in the indie and electropop scenes. Their music has seen itself evolve from having an airy, tranquil, and soothing ambiance, to a confident and powerful rebirth in their album Conscious, to a flip to colorful and vibrant 80s sounds in their latest album Don’t Feed the Pop Monster, which came out in February 2019. Despite the variety of sounds they have experimented with over the years, everything they have released is guaranteed to start a dance party.

The show opened with British band Bad Sounds, and they were a perfect way to warm up the crowd for the main act. They had a cool retro vibe, and they brought subtle undertones of jazz, hip hop, 80s pop, and punk to their general indie sound. As in any show where the audience doesn’t know the opening act, the crowd seemed unresponsive to them at first, but soon enough, the vibrancy and catchiness of their songs brought people to their feet, genuinely enjoying the music. The feel-good experience uplifted the audience’s mood, and their use of grungy mic feedback and distortion threw everyone right back to a 90s local garage band show, leaving the crowd wanting more after their short set. Needless to say, Bad Sounds were my unexpected - but very pleasant - music discovery of the night.

By the time BROODS came to the stage, the crowd had grown to fill out the whole venue, and everyone cheered as the lights went dark and the first few notes of “Sucker” came on. Georgia, the lead singer, arrived on stage wearing a bright red cowboy hat, an accessory very representative of the shift of the band’s music towards more dynamic tones. As opposed to their performances in previous tours, they played around with echo, reverb, and canon-sounding voices, which gave off very strong house music vibes and made for a cool enveloping experience. The continuous transitions both in sound and lighting between each song were smooth and beautiful, adding to the emotional feel of their set. On top of that, Georgia’s stage presence and energy were incredible and had the whole crowd captivated.

As a long time fan of BROODS, I couldn’t help but notice a change in the audience’s attitude as the band started playing a distorted and remixed version of their song “Superstar”, which was released in their first album. This was the fourth song of the set, but the first one where every single person was singing along and knew every lyric. Despite the liveliness of their newer content, songs from the last two albums were really what awakened the crowd and brought it to life - by the second song they played from their previous album, people were dancing energetically and screaming the lyrics. It was truly heartwarming to see and feel that everyone in the crowd was a long time fan of BROODS, which made the atmosphere ever more special.

“It’s time to party,” said Georgia with a laugh before closing the show with the last few songs. An amazing electric guitar solo, the enthusiastic shaking of a tambourine, and a lot of jumping around later, BROODS was saying goodbye to Montreal in their encore. Their last song “Couldn’t Believe”, which is about the happiness of being in the moment, taken from their previous album, left the audience with a sweet feeling of nostalgia.