Along with catching lead vocalist Raphaelle Standell-Preston perform during her set with BRAIDS, I returned to the Comfort Zone on Thursday night to catch her perform with Alexander Cowan as Blue Hawaii for the North by Northeast festival.
Their album, Untogether, is serene bedroom music, and I was eager to enjoy a tame set that would allow plenty of swaying. However, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the band’s live performance focused more on the electronic aspects of the songs. Gone were the breathy, airy vocals, which were replaced with screams and wails, which, coupled with blue eye makeup and dancing, created a hectic atmosphere.
Preston opened the set by claiming that “death is a really powerful thing”, and encouraged the audience to dance. The duo performed in front of an 8-bit like electronic background, with Preston jumping around but remaining to the right of the stage while Cowan stood in the middle of the stage with his synthesizer.
Preston was much more high-energy than the set she performed just two hours before. Her vocals were just as enchanting and haunting as they are when she performs without shrieking into the microphone.
Blue Hawaii’s energetic stage presence created, in my opinion, one of the best sets of the festival.