Alternative indie band Flor graces Fox Theater with energy, otherworldly vocals

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Opening the set with their 2018 single “get behind this,” flor invited a growing audience to get behind them — and if the head bopping of the audience was any indication, their appeal was answered. The song debuted lead singer Zach Graces’ unexpected and refreshing voice, setting the upbeat attitude that would continue throughout the performance. As the song came to a close, much of the audience had already been won over, with a few adventurous individuals beginning to dance on the slowly crowding floor.

Flor, an alternative band that blends indie rock and synth pop, played at the Fox Theater in Oakland on Thursday. The second opening act for Andrew McMahon In The Wilderness, flor played just as the theater was starting to fill up. Though most of the present audience members began the set focused on getting drinks, Flor did a respectable job grabbing their attention.

Flor formed in 2014 in Hood River, Oregon with Grace singing, Dylan Bauld on bass, McKinley Kitts on guitar and Kyle Hill on drums. The origins of their sound traces back to Grace’s early experimentation with synth sounds, around which Bauld infused many of the band’s songs with a sound of 80s new wave. They released their first album, sights & sounds, independently in 2015. In 2016, they signed to Fueled By Ramen and released their first album for the label, come out, you’re hiding in May 2017.

The quartet of musicians performed in front of a veiled set for the headlining act, keeping their own stage setup simple with most of the band members remaining relatively stationary. Grace was the exception, consistently energizing the crowd and engaging bassist Bauld and guitarist Kitts. It seemed that the only time Grace wasn’t looping around the stage was when he was using his synthesizer — even then he maintained a connection with the crowd of mostly 20-something-year-olds.

The opening song was followed by “where do you go” and “restless soul,” maintaining the set’s high energy and lending Grace’s earnest singing a chance to shine. Grace’s voice is soft, graceful and wholly unexpected, creating a hypnotic and ethereal effect. “slow motion,” which was released just earlier this month slowed down their sound, creating a breezy, undeniably cool groove, getting the audience to sway along. Flor ended its set, which lasted around 40 minutes, with crowd-pleaser “hold on.” In previous interviews, Grace has described the song as “a track that helped us define our sound as what kind of music we wanted to make.” Lyrics that leave you lovestruck and an ethereal quality that puts you in a daze, flor left the audience swaying long after the song finished.

Contact Zoë Cramer at [email protected].