Review by Sophia Blair


A stage adorned with jellyfish; a crowd serenaded by a voice erupting from the very roots of his being.


Briston Maroney, international indie sensation, brought his music, heart, soul and even his family to Paradise Rock Club on February 2 and 3. His “Ultrapure World Tour” sold out almost immediately once tickets were announced, and rightfully so — many of Maroney’s songs are critically acclaimed, and his fan base continues to grow with his music. He performed alongside Nathan Knox on the drums, with Devin Javon Badgett and Zack Lockwood on the bass. 


Enchantingly, Maroney struck the perfect symbiotic balance between intensity and tenderness, conveying the depth of his heart alongside the effervescence of his spirit. 


The icon got his first taste of the spotlight in 2013 as a 15-year-old auditioning for American Idol in his hometown of Knoxville, Tennessee. He advanced to the top 30, and has been pursuing his passion for creation ever since, releasing his first Extended Play “Bigshot” in 2017 and now boasting over 2.4 monthly listeners on Spotify alone. 


The distinct energy of his sound, anchored in strikingly poetic lyricism, have skyrocketed him to become an increasingly known name, outgrowing his small, indie roots to signing with a major label, joining the stage with artists like Hozier and Noah Kahan. He released his sophomore album, “Ultrapure,” in September 2023, a title that refers to a phrase Briston coined himself. “My favorite moments in the human experience are ones that you don’t even realize have started but feel so deeply when you realize they’ve ended. I refer to these as ‘ultrapure’ moments,” he said. The title reflects how personal the album is to him — he even played every instrument on the LP and co-produced it. 


The electric atmosphere buzzed with anticipation as fans stood together, waiting for the opener to get the party started. As his opener, Maroney selected small Australian alt-pop artist Phoebe Go. With around 8,000 Instagram followers and nearly 40,000 Spotify listeners at the time of the show, Go is a choice that many did not initially know, but left absolutely loving. Her soft, hopeful sound provided a nice contrast to the more eccentric, upbeat songs Maroney performed and acted as the perfect introduction to what would be a long night of pure… or should I say ultrapure joy and sense of collective love for the music.


After hours of awaiting his presence, Briston stepped out onto the stage, and was met with a roaring crowd. Immediately, he launched into “Body,” the most popular song off of his newest album, “Ultrapure.” Following the first song, he chatted with the crowd for a bit, impressed with himself for being so talkative so early into his show. 


His energy didn’t falter as the show went on, either. As songs like “Chaos Party” and “Under My Skin” began to play, the band would bring a level of energy that not even the crowd could match. Often, they would jump around with their guitars and dance together, showing that they were genuinely having as much fun, if not more, than the audience who had come to see them. Maroney would provide some context, and even joke around, about the songs between performances. He clearly felt comfortable on the stage, as if he was divinely destined to be on it. 


The set spanned the accomplishments of his career, including the iconic Platinum single “Freakin’ Out On the Interstate,” and next most popular tracks “Small Talk,” “Caroline,” and “Fool’s Gold,” from his EP, “Indiana,” weaved in as well. He paid homage to his 2017 EP Big Shot” with the performance of “June,” and closed out by pulling out the acoustic guitar with one of his slowest, most emotional songs, “Rose.” 


At many points throughout the show, the band would, as Briston said, “get loose and get lost in it.” Between many songs, or in the midst of them, they would interlude with what can only be interpreted as a freestyle solely guided by the feeling of the music. Eyes closed, going with the flow of the other bandmates, together they created the most contagious synergy; it was evident they were stoked to be there. 


After an encore of the song “Ultrapure” to close out the show and bring it full-circle, Maroney didn’t rush off the stage like some artists choose to. He took time to thank each individual in the crew by name, and even shouted out his grandparents, who had traveled from Tennessee to see him perform. His grandmother contributed to the playful atmosphere by wearing a head-to-toe groundhog onesie to commemorate Groundhog Day. 


Experiencing the authenticity of Briston Maroney’s craft was otherworldly. It was clear that he and his band were genuinely having fun and were so grateful to be there, and the magnetizing marriage of talent and passion created utter magic. His hunger for art certainly has not yet been satiated, and this tour seemed like the cusp of what more is to come, rather than some sort of grand finale. It truly was an “Ultrapure” experience; one that’s indelibly intoxicating impression only amplified and echoed in my mind and heart after it had come to a close.