by Taleen Simonian
Photography by Shalini Ramaswamy
As the stage lights dimmed, signaling that California-based indie rock quartet Bad Suns were ready to perform, fans sprawled around Brighton Music hall swarmed forward in a tight pack. Who could blame them—Bad Suns has something about them that naturally draws people in. Maybe it’s their undeniably relatable lyrics. Maybe it’s their placid SoCal attitudes. Or maybe it’s because they are a band that you wish had played at your high school prom— they make dancing, singing and truly connecting to music a communal feat. Regardless, they have been doing something right, because they played a sold out show at the Brighton Music Hall on November 3.
The set began with the performance of “Disappear Here,” the first song on their sophomore album, Disappear Here. Though the album has only been out for two months, the audience had no problem singing each and every lyric with expertise. The stage setup was simple, nothing superfluous to litter the space. The only backdrop was a flag of the Bad Suns logo, completely made of sequins, shimmering like the ocean on a sunny day. Yet, it was the lighting that caught the eyes of fans. It was soft, blanketing the faces and bodies of the musicians and blurring their features. It was the contouring of shadows that reminded fans that they band was, in fact, smiling while performing.
The Californians did an excellent job of blending old songs with new ones, treating longtime fans and appealing to new ones. Songs such as “Pretty Daft Boys,” “Salt” and “Violet” took well with fans and reinforced the band’s unwavering indie-driven genre. There was something about the way that the boys performed each song that sent a wave of nostalgia over the crowd. It was a flashback of a simpler time; when the members of a band were cool, but their vocal and instrumental skills were cooler. There was an absence of vanity or a “holier than thou" attitude (cough, Justin Bieber). Lead vocalist Christo Bowman has a way of making fans feel at ease. His quirky, I-don’t-care-who’s-watching dance moves and genuine commentary made the crowd forget that they were in the presence of rockstars.
The combination of atmosphere and music was enough to keep fans engaged throughout the set. The mood suddenly shifted when Bad Suns played their final song, “Cardiac Arrest.” Suddenly, fans felt like they needed more. It was as if the hour-long set was no longer enough, and that the apocalypse would surly strike if there wasn't an encore. To no surprise, the band exceeded expectations with a three-song encore.
“We love you more than you’ll ever know, Boston,” asserted Bowman.
It was clear that the love was mutual, for it has become rare to find acts who genuinely make you feel at home.