Bluphoria Presents: Bluphoria At The Middle East

Izzy Astuto ‘25 / Entertainment Monthly Staff Writer

4 piece Nashville based band Bluphoria is roaring back on the music scene with their new album release. The group’s first album, titled Bluphoria, is a culmination of some of their best music made during quarantine. Inspired by the music of Jimi Hendrix and Cage The Elephant, this alternative rock band is currently touring the nation.

23-year-old Reign LaFreniere is the frontman of the group, a guitarist and singer. He originally met his rhythm guitarist, Dakota Landrum, at Oregon University. Landrum started as their bassist as they began to play local shows, until Rex Wolf, their current bassist, came to a show of theirs. “We met and I was praying so hard he would be a bassist,” LaFreniere said. Dani Janae is the band’s drummer, with Mia Roth as the drummer while the group is on tour.

“Rex is much more grunge and hardcore, and Dakota tends to bring the psychedelic rock vibe to our music,” LaFreniere said about the band’s genre. The songwriting process for the group typically has LaFreniere building the bare bones of a song, and then the rest of the band contributes. This often leads to a very lively mishmash of sound. The band certainly fluctuates between genres in this album, creating a very fun live feel where the focus is on cultivating the most energy possible.

Bluphoria came together as a group just six months before COVID hit and shut everything down, which had a massive impact on them. For a band that prioritizes live music for their sound so heavily, it was terrifying. However, instead of letting that overwhelm them, the band only focused that energy into creating some of their most upbeat songs yet. “It gave us a lot of time to reflect on what makes a good song,” said LaFreniere. “Both for live music, and in the studio.”

Understandably, the opportunity to tour again is huge for a band like this. The tour certainly didn’t disappoint, a night full of high energy expected from an album like this. For the Boston show, they came to The Middle East venue in Cambridge. The band took to the stage, each with a drink in hand. Before performing, LaFreniere yelled out to the crowd, making sure everyone in the audience had a beer too. Being underage, I immediately felt guilty for disappointing.

Their set started off with “Show It To Me,” the ninth song on the album, but a surprisingly strong starter. It starts off slow, but moves into the band’s classic yelled choruses, allowing LaFreniere to showcase his raspy tone. The others act as backing vocals, much louder in person than on the album, which works really well to rile up the audience.

Next they moved into “Set Me Up,” the first track on the album. This seemed to be a crowd and band favorite, as we all began to settle into the rhythm of the night. The song echoes a running theme throughout the album of lost connection and betrayal. In unison, the band asks their subject what they did to “mess it up” during each chorus, the audience joining in by the end. LaFreniere had an uncontrollable energy running through his body, legs shaking in time to the beat.

Just as the Elvis comparisons in my head were getting unbearable, Bluphoria announced their first cover of the night— “That’s All Right” by Elvis Presley. They then moved into a few older songs. “We want more progression in our sets,” said LaFreniere. “To get the whole essence of the band.”

Towards the end of our conversation, LaFreniere was talking about how hard it was for the band to adapt to pandemic life. “So it must feel really good to finally bring these to an audience,” I said to him.

LaFreniere agreed enthusiastically. “This feels like the perfect time to perform these specific songs.” The band is performing the final two shows of their tour in Nashville, Tennessee and Atlanta, Georgia on November 18 and 19, respectively. If you would like to follow the band, check out their Instagram and Spotify.

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