The Rickshaw Stop filled up early Thursday night for the sold-out showcase of new internet sensations ASTR and Broods. It was pretty amazing to see devoted fans arrive early and stake out the coveted front, considering the youthful age of both of the bands: Broods forming just last year and ASTR not much earlier than that. The eager crowd mingled and got their buzz on with catchy mixes of today’s most blogged-about beat-driven indie electro pop, spun by DJ Aaron Axelsen while watching random clips of ’80s classics projected on the stage screen.
Adam of ASTR soon took the stage, singlehandedly filling the venue with synthy drum and keyboard beats and setting the dance party tone, before inviting Zoe onto the stage where she pumped it up immediately with her high energy, bad ass dance moves. As if kicking down a door, she came out punching every beat, whipping her tight, single braided hair like a weapon. She owned her rock star status, staring down the audience and seducing them with her powerful yet lush R&B voice. Their set was tight with strong builds and drops that did not disappoint.
Covering Drake’s “Hold On We’re Going Home” brought the at-first-hesitant crowd into the groove and singing along to the familiar hit. Not only that, but it dotted the top of the crowd with illuminated screens, all capturing the moment, ready to post and strengthen ASTR’s already strong media presence.
Broods took their headlining spot and created a dancey, yet chilled out atmosphere. Talented vocalist and keyboardist Georgia Nott sang with beauty and strength, effortlessly floating on high notes and building harmonies reminiscent of Imogen Heap. Her tantalizing voice was impressive throughout the set, taking on a couple of stripped-down solos where she and her keyboard treated us to a refreshing space of nostalgia.
Multi-instrumentalist and brother Caleb Nott was just as impressive with the intricate groundwork he created. Strong beats, washed out synths and minimalist keyboards, along with the vocals he provided, perfectly accented and grounded Georgia’s presence. The fresh New Zealand duo also paid tribute to another act covering Empire Of The Sun’s “We Are The People.” Their slowed down rendition was haunting and beautiful and so mesmerizing, transfixing the audience and holding the moment still.
Their performance of “Bridges” was undoubtedly the highlight of the evening, although in all truthfulness, this smash hit from their only EP is what anyone has heard if they’ve heard of Broods. Starting off with just their harmonies and a simple beat, the song slips into a cool vibe that makes you want to sip on a good martini (or at least that’s what I wanted). This was the band’s first time in San Francisco, but with a solid set like this and their strong following, it’s sure to be the first of many.