REVIEW: Atlas Genius, Magic Giant, Half the Animal @ ONCE Ballroom 10/14

Photo by Katie Evans
Photo by Katie Evans

After nearly two years of new music silence, Atlas Genius decided to hit the road in anticipation of their third studio album. They headlined intimate venues across the U.S. on their 63 Days of Love Tour making a stop at ONCE Ballroom in Somerville, Mass.

Opening up the night was alternative pop group Half the Animal. The band played an array of pop songs while the audience danced along. Lead vocalist Chase Johnson paused their set to thank music and sex and continued on with their new single “Bad Bad Love.” After a total of seven songs the band thanked the audience for listening and walked off stage.

In between sets, the venue played only The Killers’ well known hits on a loop causing the entire audience to scream the lyrics. Before we realized it, the next band began their set. Indie folk band Magic Giant opened with their song “Let It Burn,” and did not hesitate to jump into their performance causing the floor to shake.  Magic Giant was unlike any other band I have ever seen. They constantly interacted with the audience and brought new instruments up on stage for every song. Every member danced across the entire stage for the next 45 minutes and their smiles never left their faces. During the band’s second song, “Hideaway,” I found lead singer Austin Bisnow’s arm around my shoulder prompting me to dance along. Other members included: Zambricki Li who played the banjo, fiddle, viola, and harmonica along with Brian Zaghi who played the cello, guitar, and upright bass.

They segued into “Jade” by giving the audience the backstory for the name of the song. Bisnow explained that a fan had come up to them after they performed the then-untitled song at a festival. The fan told the band that the song reminded her of her friend, Jade, who had recently passed away. For their song “Great Divide,” the members walked into the audience and played it entirely acoustically as the audience circled around them and danced. They jumped back on stage after and continued their exhilarating performance. They ended their set with their new single “Window” and informed the audience that they will be back in February.

Last up was headliner for the night, Atlas Genius. The Australian alternative rock duo consists of brothers Keith and Michael Jeffery. The band played songs off their first two albums including hits, “Stockholm,” “Where I Belong,” “Trojans,” and “If So.” They lit up the stage with an electrifying stage presence. Jeffery’s strong voice hit every note and sounded crystal clear.

The band played their newest single, “63 Days” which was written after Jeffery hurt someone close to him. He is now trying to spread positivity through the band’s new #63daysoflove movement. They are asking fans to take photos doing a “soul stare” as a sign of love and respect.  The band premiered a new song, “Centered on You,” from their untitled upcoming album. The song sounded similar to their older songs and had a great audience reaction. They covered Dead or Alive’s well-known hit “You Spin Me Round” and ended their set with “Molecules.” The band put on a fantastic performance that kept the audience intrigued and moving the entire time. Keep a look out for their third studio album!

-Katie Evans