Despite the night being filled with dreary April showers, the Music Hall of Williamsburg was buzzing on Friday, April 4 before HÆLOS took the stage for their Any Random Kindness Tour, promoting their debut album, Full Circle. Where the charming indie-pop harmonies of Oh Wonder meets the dark electronic of Moby, HÆLOS has spent the past few years songwriting, touring, and hitting festivals, garnering fans of their eccentric, apocalyptic vibes.
French Canadian artist MUNYA opened up the show as a one-woman act that saw her using a keyboard, loop machine, and guitar while also supplying live vocals. The venue quickly filled up as her bilingual songs charmed the audience. Quirky tracks like “If I’m Gone Tomorrow (It’s Because of Aliens)” displayed not only her clear talent for instruments, but her impressive vocal range that can effortlessly leap from lower crooning to soaring high notes. “Sometimes I feel like an alien! Like every day,” she told the crowd with a huge smile on her face after concluding the song. A trained opera singer and jazz musician, MUNYA showed clear control over every element of her performance, at one point delivering pitch-perfect whistling into the mic.
She also shared the meet-cute story of her and headliner, HÆLOS, who she connected with a few weeks prior at SXSW and asked her to open for their NYC and Washington DC dates. HÆLOS band member Arthur Delaney retold the story during their set as well, saying that the band saw MUNYA perform live at SXSW and “were spellbound.” It’s easy to see why— MUNYA’s captivating electronic pop is equal parts graceful and otherworldly.
After a brief stage reset, HÆLOS took the floor, opening with their single “Kyoto,” an atmospheric anthem about disenchantment and jadedness. Despite the stark realism of the lyrics, the crowd was passionately dancing and feeling the beat right alongside the band. Dressed in an ankle-length red sequin gown, lead singer Lotti Bernardout addressed the audience, telling us in her English accent that they loved being in New York. “New York loves you!” someone yelled back from the audience.
Throughout the set, every member of HÆLOS seamlessly took on an impressive number of roles. Nearly every musician switched between different keyboards, guitars, and microphones—sometimes in the middle of songs. Their third song, “End of the Party,” utilized a well-placed sample of Bobby Byrd and James Brown’s iconic “Woo! Yeah!” drum loop that got the whole venue grooving. Another highlight was “Boy/Girl,” a spooky, dark sounding track that utilizes male-female, back-and-forth vocals to their utmost potential.
By the time HÆLOS got to their smash hit, “Dust,” the crowd was in full motion, with nearly everyone moving their feet, bobbing their heads, and swaying to the atmospheric anthem. With the drum face bearing the image of an eclipse––the same cover art as their album––it’s impossible to not feel the existential, larger-than-life, almost nihilistic vibes emanating from the band’s dark lyrics and electronic sound. However, lost in the crowd with hundreds of others who came to share the music, it’s also impossible to not feel a part of something supremely special. HÆLOS will take you there.