Foreign Born are a Los Angeles-based indie rock unit, who write lush, layered pop songs with swinging melodies, tinkling keys, maraca-tinged dance beats and Afro-pop hints. (Imagine if someone took the Harlem Shakes or Vampire Weekend, armed them with surf boards, and plopped them down on Venice Beach.) The result is a laidback collective of fun-loving musicians, whose breezy summer tunes just might be the perfect summer soundtrack.
The band helped corroborate this claim Friday night, with a dazzling performance at Johnny Brenda’s. The crowd—tentative at first—quickly warmed up to the 6-piece, dancing and clapping to their effervescent pop.
Boston folk unit Faces on Film opened, with a low-key set of wistful tunes describing “lonesome railroad lines” and “bluejay cries.” Front man Mike Fiore kicked things off with a trio of solo numbers, his poignant vocals and plink-y guitar playing cutting through the crowd like a knife. The rest of the band soon joined him, concocting intimate and cathartic soundscapes that grew and morphed organically.
Next up was London-based the Veils, who took dramatics to a whole new level, with capricious melodies and rough-edged vocals (from lanky Aussie Finn Andrews) that seesawed between quiet and weighty and screech-y and furious. Their entire set seemed to build in intensity, and by the time they hit “Lockspur” – the final track of the night – drums thundered aggressively, chords clashed, Andrews’s voice exploded like a firecracker, and red lights flashed on and off as the audience erupted in applause.