I’ll admit that I had written off Broods when they were riding their first wave of hype and critical favour in 2014 – and being a snarky “indie kid” teenager certainly didn't help matters. Nonetheless, with age comes a more open mind and a broader pop palette to appreciate, and seeing the brother/sister duo from Nelson at the Auckland Town Hall was a chance to prove my past self wrong.
Keeping the familial motif intact, literal band of brothers Balu Brigada got the crowd jumping to kick off the night, blending poppy hooks with a soulful hip-hop mentality and mid-2000s pop-punk fashion. Even though a technical fumble with their guitars and a heavily truncated cover of Kanye West’s Runaway, the Beasley brothers and Guy Harrison shrugged it off with good spirits. They even brought out their own special guest, performing Slow Dive in a smooth duet with singer-songwriter Paige.
Clad in all white and cheery as can be, Broods' icy-sharp brand of booming electro-pop sliced through the smoke machines fairly quickly. However, at times, the subtle keyboards and raspy melodies courtesy of Georgia Nott threatened to tip the boat and submerge the audience in reverb overload.
Elsewhere, I appreciated the effort spent on visuals throughout the night; it was like understanding synaesthesia, with a variety of neon strobe lights perfectly representing the vibe of each song. Frightful pulses of neon red could fade to an enveloping blue hue in an instant, and it made for a much more engaging experience overall.
Having an outsider's perspective on Broods wasn't doing me any favours; I did not have any personal connection to the tracks, and outside of familiar comfort in the soaring chorus of early single Bridges, I found myself drifting through songs drifting together.
The band themselves were the anchor that kept me grounded, with Georgia’s hypnotic and kinetic stage presence carrying any lulls in the set. The energy from the front-woman was palpable, with every vocal pause accentuated by jerky dance moves, gliding from one end of the stage to wave at the audience above on the other.
Caleb Nott’s versatility must also be mentioned; from his understated bass chops to his emotional lead on Too Proud, the elder brother took his chance to shake up the dynamics of the set and nailed it. The idea of a more organic call-and-response between the siblings, or how they could share lead vocals, could be an exciting prospect for any future chances to refine their sound more.
Broods didn't need to prove anything on their home turf tonight, yet all the same, the duo proved exactly why they've managed to last this long in the music industry. Regardless of my lack of familiarity with - or affection for - the material, you have to respect the stylistic consistency and the showmanship that it takes to pull off a show where the audience cheers during every quiet moment. And in New Zealand’s Music Month, it’s nice to be reminded just how loud that cheer can be for home-grown talent – a cheer for an encore so loud that I’ll be hearing it ringing through my ears the whole week. Now that’s something to be proud of.