featuring Half the Animal and Magic Giant
October 15, 2017 @ ONCE Ballroom
By: Carter Howe
Atlas Genius’s show in Somerville last week was not their first go-around in Boston, but it was their first ever show at the ballroom-style venue ONCE in Somerville. The room, adorned with string lights and clean wooden floors, looks like it’s more prepared to hold a Bar Mitzvah than a rollicking pop-rock show. However, last week, Half the Animal, Magic Giant, and Atlas Genius gave them just that, turning the white-walled, formal dance room into a party.
By the time Half the Animal had finished their set, a steady crowd had formed. Fans filled the ballroom, some having come from far and wide to see Magic Giant—(“WE CAME FROM CALI TO SEE YOU!”)—and chatted excitedly before the band went on. The members of Magic Giant finally took the stage and the crowd erupted in applause. The band played through their light danceable songs, their violinist’s strings already dangling from the bow. The set finally came to their newest single, “Window,” where the lead singer Austin Bisnow jumped into the crowd and just stood, singing loud with his eyes closed to the fans who sang the lyrics, just as loud, right back to him. During the bridge of the song, Austin returned to the stage, leaned into the crowd and said, “Now, I want you to put your hand on a shoulder. Doesn’t matter if it’s a friend, or a stranger. Just rock with us.” For the rest of the song, the crowd swayed in a huge sweeping motion and Magic Giant made their final exit offstage.
It was not long until the lights went down, the members of Atlas Genius moved onstage, and everything in the room went blue. It was as if the entire ballroom had turned into a photo—everyone in the crowd was suddenly made up of bright whites, light aquas and dark blue shadows. Silhouetted in front of the blue lights installed in their equipment boxes, Atlas Genius opened with “The City We Grow,” which turned quickly into their kick drum-driven “Stockholm.” As I looked around, the fans weren’t shouting the lyrics back the way the Magic Giant fans did, but instead just sang them back with looks of awe on their faces. It was clear the Australian natives had built up a following across the country. Finally, they played a crowd favorite, “Trojans,” and the whole room was singing—it didn’t stop until their last song. You could tell that that flipped the switch, making the night one for both the band and the fans to remember. As tired venue managers walked around picking up crushed beer cans from the floor, fans disappeared into the streets and into Ubers, trying hard not to smile from the show.