Show Review: An Impactful Night with Briston Maroney

Photography by Joan Kwon

By Ella Mastroianni, Blog Assistant

Artist: Briston Maroney

When: Saturday, February 3rd

People likely were “Freakin' Out on the Interstate” to get to Briston Maroney’s show at Paradise Rock Club on February 3rd. 

Simultaneously falling into the genres of indie, folk and rock, 26-year-old Briston Maroney has been creating a sweet space where his music lives in the time since he auditioned for American Idol at age 15. While that pursuit was technically unsuccessful, since then, his music has taken off all on its own, with lyrics that take all of the happy and sad parts of life and hold them with gentle hands. 

With the stage decked out in underwater flare — a metallic blue backdrop and sea creature props with big googly eyes — I was more excited than ever to see what the “Caroline” singer had in store. 

 

PHOEBE GO NEARLY STEALS THE SHOW

The opener’s name may have been Phoebe Go, but I wanted her to stay. 

Despite the Phoebe Go project only having released music since 2022, Phoebe Cockburn has been making music for a while, previously having been part of the bands Two People and Snakadaktal. 

For this show, she was on stage by herself, just her and her guitar, which made the set very intimate as she performed a handful of songs, including her most recent single “7 Up” (which came out just last month), as well as a few from her EP “Player.” My eyes were locked on her the whole time she was on stage, pulled in by her voice which was reminiscent of King Princess’. At one point she took a second and expressed to the audience how happy she was to be there. Phoebe Go’s music, and just Phoebe overall, was an unexpected surprise for the night that I fell head-over-heels for. And the great news is, I’ve only just begun falling. I am beyond excited to hear her future releases, and am crossing my fingers that she comes back to Boston. 

 

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS AS MARONEY TAKES THE STAGE

I can’t tell whether Briston Maroney is the embodiment of his music or if his music is an exact reflection of himself. Either way, Maroney — with his sunflower-tattooed hand and long, curly hair topped with a flower beanie — was a vision in blue (jeans) when he took the stage Saturday night. 

He and his band started off the night strong, with a song off the new album Ultrapure, called “Body.” Right away, everyone was singing along, with the crowd putting special emphasis on the lyric, “Someday, my body will be just a body.” 

 

A SETLIST FULL OF SURPRISES AND SHINING MOMENTS

From there, he dipped into a song from the 2019 Indiana EP, entitled “Small Talk.” Maroney had a good mix of songs from his past projects alongside songs from the new record. Classics such as “Fool’s Gold” and “June” made the setlist, to the delight of the audience.

These performances wouldn’t have been the same without Maroney’s band. Devin Javon Badgett, Nathan Knox, and Zack Lockwood were all treasures to see live with Maroney. All four people on stage complemented each other so well, and they made the show all-consuming. 

Another element of the show I loved was the dedication to the more high-energy songs on the setlist. Maroney and the band were jumping around, and headbanging was more than encouraged. I wish I’d kept track of how many times the beanie flung off Maroney’s head as he flipped his hair around. But my educated guess is three times…

Aside from the set allowing optimal time for guitar-riffing and high-jumping, at the end of the performance of “Sink;Swim,” Maroney himself played the drums. The dynamics of the stage were ever-changing, and each song kept me guessing what the band would surprise me with next.

 

MARONEY’S LYRICS MAKE FOR REAL-LIFE IMPACT & LONG LASTING MEMORIES (BRAIN HEALTH INTACT)

“Love is what you deserve,” is the line on which “Freakin’ Out on the Interstate,” concludes, and everyone in the audience sang it wholeheartedly back towards the stage. A majority of Maroney’s lyrics carry a theme of self-love, love for others, and love for life. I do not doubt that every person who hears his lyrics will continue to be able to take something from them. 

During the performance of “Sunshine,” I felt connected to the lyrics “I wanna thank you for loving me when I just don't know what to say. Well real love makes you feel at home when you're far away.” Maroney’s lyrics are poetic and hit home in ways that not just anyone’s words can do.

Toward the end of the night, someone in the audience handed Maroney a sign that read “I came here with a concussion,” and after experiencing this night of the Ultrapure tour, I would’ve made the same choice that person did to come in spite of the extra noise and light sensitivities (although Maroney did point out he didn’t condone that). 

While I was at the show, I felt the joy and music vibrating through my feet, but when I left Paradise Rock Club that night, Briston Maroney’s voice and lyrics were whirling in my head long after I’d left.

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