Ivytide Release portable darkroom at Theatre Fairmount

With plastic ivy, photo negatives and polaroids dangling from the ceiling, Ivytide hit the stage at Theatre Fairmount on Saturday to an adoring home crowd. Celebrating the release of their latest album, portable darkroom, the room was in ultra-high spirits with groups of young girls erupting in screams whenever singer, Nathan Gagné, directed his flirtatious lyrics to their filming phones. 

Ivytide formed after Gagné sought out guitarist Jamie Synette, and bassist Kyle Ruggiero, to be in his live band following the release of a solo EP in 2017. With vocals reminiscent of Still Woozy and Frank Ocean, and indie pop/R&B inspired instrumentation, Ivytide’s steady flow of singles and album releases have earned them a growing following locally as well as internationally. On their latest album, portable darkroom, the songwriting is reflective, nostalgic, and grapples with themes of transition, loss, instability, carrying relationship baggage, and growing older. The album has a 90’s/2000’s feel with its opening track “vacant” setting the tone of the album with a moody guitar part comfortingly evocative of Samantha Ronson’s Mean Girls hit “Built This Way.” 

At Theatre Fairmount, Gagné and Ruggiero were outfitted in matching pink jumpsuits covered in autographs and messages from their fans, which they offered to the merch table for further signatures at the end of the show. Their stage presence mirrored the audience’s excitement and glee as they bounced around the stage, encouraged loud singing, and taught the crowd vocal parts to sing along to many of their songs. Before launching into “détours,” Gagné, Synette, and Ruggiero performed coordinated, robotic movements along to a background video of street signs while a track emulating the voice of a GPS rerouting someone through traffic played over the speakers to the great entertainment of their fans. Midway through their set, Gagné invited their opening act, Anna Justen, back on stage to perform a song they said they had just rehearsed backstage. Her angelic voice complimented Gagné’s in such a beautiful way that afterwards several voices in the crowd cried out for them to sing it again. 

Throughout their show, the crowd dutifully sang the words to their songs, most notably during “moving song” where the audience’s singing was an accompaniment to Gagné’s throughout. If the ecstatic energy of Ivytide’s hometown release show for portable darkroom was any indicator of where their new album will take them, their show at Theatre Fairmount captured a potent snapshot of the tide of acclaim headed their way.

Angela is the host of The Spacious Astrology Playlist, a weekly playlist of music inspired by the current astrology transits, Fridays 4PM-5PM