On the last leg of his headlining US tour, Nashville-based singer Briston Maroney filled up Boston’s popular Sinclair Music Hall for a sold out show. Any jitters that may have been attached to early shows on the tour did not appear to linger, as Briston confidently played to a crowd of 500, including those that have been with him from the start: his grandparents and a few other close family members who proudly watched the show from both the floor and the mezzanine. Opening the show with whispers of a voicemail recording that resembled children leaving him a sweet message, Briston quickly dove into the upbeat indie track, “Small Talk”, and instantly filled the room with a transmissible energy.
The stage was designed to match the aesthetic of his 2021 debut album, Sunflower, released via Atlantic Records and Canvasback Music. Microphone stands were adorned in strings of faux sunflowers, intertwining around each pole and lighting fixtures that cast a moody, soft glow of orange light. The stage itself provided a playground where Briston and his three bandmates tinkered around with different instruments and bounced off one another’s high-charged enthusiasm.
Tracks from Sunflower filled the setlist and provided many of the night’s standout moments. Songs like “Why,” “Sinkin’,” and “June”, where he took the stage solo for a stripped-down version of the song, were the highlights of the set. The setlist’s structure consisted of mainly slower, folk-based tracks in the first half, followed by the rockier, more upbeat tracks in the second. As Briston and his band rocked through each song, he sprinkled plenty of commentary throughout, showing both his humor and humility. With such a high-powered second half of the show, adrenaline was rushing both on stage and throughout the venue, so much so that the heat in the room was palpable. At one point, guitarist Devin Badgett dramatically smashed his guitar to the ground and proceeded to repetitively jump on it to the beat of “Steve’s First Bruise”. It wasn’t until later in the show that we discovered a large piece of the body broke off and was joked to be “superglued back on later”. It was a rock ‘n roll show, after all.
The night was full of interactive and personal moments where Briston checked in on the crowd, expressed his gratitude, led a group stretch, and even let the crowd desperately touch his guitar while he held it out at the end of “I’ve Been Waiting”. “This is one of those nights I don’t wanna play, I just wanna talk. You guys are cool. I just wanna smile at everyone,” he stated halfway through his set, feeling the connection in the room.
Briston gained popularity in 2018 with the release of his single “Freakin’ Out On the Interstate” which closed out his 15-track setlist before his encore track “Caroline”. Walking back out with a wide grin, he proceeded to chat with the crowd for another few minutes rather than jumping straight into song. After wishing happy birthday to someone in the crowd, and greeting a fan on FaceTime that is currently stationed in the Navy, he once again expressed his gratitude for the audience and the night that was shared. “Did everyone have a wonderful evening? We feel the same way. Thank you guys from the bottom of all of our hearts for being here.”
There is a deep, personal connection in watching Briston Maroney perform. Not only is he highly skilled behind the guitar, but his vocals and stage presence are both fine tuned and electric. If his lyrics and on-the-whim quips are any indicator, Briston presents a deep genuinity that makes as much of an impression as his musical performance does. The Sunflower World Tour was dynamic and captivating, creating a sense of community and liberation that is sure to leave a lasting impression.
Additional Briston Maroney live dates and touring info can be found here.