At about a third through their set on Monday, siblings Georgia Nott and Caleb Nott moved from their stations to chairs at the edge of the stage.
The duo, who perform under their band name Broods, got their start playing covers around clubs in their native New Zealand, Georgia explained to the sold-out crowd at the 9:30 Club. And they wanted to dedicate a few songs to replicating such an intimate experience as much as possible, albeit with their own original songs and to an audience of 1,200 people or so.
Replicate it they did, at least as much as possible. Georgia launched into “All of Your Glory” from the band’s second full-length album, Conscious, released in June via Capitol Records. Georgia’s voice carried the simple, fragile song, a signature characteristic of trip hop, as Caleb simply played guitar in the seat next to her. It reminded me of how far they have come since their debut album Evergreen in 2014, when they were getting buzz but filling smaller clubs like U Street Music Hall. Now, Broods have grown in audience, stature, and confidence, but the brother and sister seem to be the same honest, forthright young people they always were.
The show began with a bit more extravagance. A supporting synthesizer player and drummer took up positions on stage right and left, respectively, and Caleb stood at a large synth rig in the middle to perform some intro music. Glad in a leather jacket that evoked the concept of wings, Georgia bounded onto stage to belt out the title track to the new album, her voice going from breathy crystal to a soaring wail. In the early songs in the Broods set, Georgia was a force with which to reckon! She rose physically as her voice hit high notes and crouched low when she roared through a chorus. She was wonderfully emotive as well — her face registering plaintive cries as she sings the lyrics to songs like “Everytime” from the debut Broods album: “‘Cause every time is the last time/And I’m kicking myself just trying to be understanding.”
Broods absorb their audience so completely that I’m taken by surprise. The people packed in the club around them are almost like an emotional barometer — rising and rippling as the words and synths of Broods washes upon them. This was a band that was fulfilling its promise, and this was an audience that loved what they were hearing and seeing.
The band close their set on “Free,” the first single from the new album, a catchy celebration of freedom. The encore includes first-album faves “Four Walls” and “Bridges,” much to the delight of the 9:30 Club crowd.
Broods continue their tour tonight, August 3, in Boston, and they remain in the United States through Sept. 3, when they close out in Atlanta. If this is a band you already love, you absolutely must see them live. If it is a band about which you’re curious, you owe yourself the treat of their live show. It is guaranteed to move you.
Here are quite a few pictures of Broods performing at the 9:30 Club on Monday, August 1, 2016.