Brushing her blonde hair coyly out of her eyes after the rambunctious crowd settled and the noise of Bully‘s loud guitars faded down, front woman Alicia Bognanno held the mic: “Thanks everyone, its great to be back in New York” she spoke, catching her breath. “Such a big city!” she joked.
One punter yelled “Where are -you- from?”
“I’m from Minnesota, but we’re based in Nashville. …It’s a pretty cool town.” as she tuned her guitar while the packed crowd waited to jump around, finally satiated when the band broke into their latest radio tune “Too Tough.” If Nashville wasn’t a cool town before, it is now.
The Bowery was full, and the front dominated by an unusually vibrant mosh pit, sadly confronting some overly-hip types who had their freshly polished brogues trampled and began defending their territory. Bully’s music is upbeat, retro, and interludes between peaceful verses and aggressive choruses in the 90’s grunge tradition. Their sound could easily be described as a great potential soundtrack to the TV show Daria, their tone drawing equally from Hole as from Marcy Playground.
Alicia and her band do not present themselves as grunge throwbacks, but rather as a modern American punk band, and threw the dynamics of their songs into the show with little space between tunes. Ending with crowd favorite “Milkman” they left to make way for Metz.
Metz played two shows in New York over the week, starting with this show at The Bowery, to warm up for their world tour through Asia and Australia.
When Metz took the stage it was all the sound and fury, drum intros and guitar squeal of “Headache”. The three-piece from Canada play their own brand of hard and fast punk rock, with crashing highs of noise and feedback, and thudding lows of hardcore riffs. Metz are eternally high energy, refusing to speak to the crowd and blasting through their setlist while the front rows threw down.
The sound and show of Metz is like seeing The Bronx in 2003. Metz are famous for their live show, no doubt because they leap across the stage while slamming their riffs and yell into the microphones without any fear of exhaustion. The drummer Hayden Menzies, pounding perfect beats, thrashed his head like the Animal, in an almost hypnotic unpredictable rhythm as his hair flew everywhere. Singer Alex Edkins almost seemed trapped by the microphone stand as he desperately fall onto it after every thrashing riff or noise solo. It had been three years since Metz played their first time at the Bowery Ballroom, and many in the crowd were return customers, many even daring to crowd surf. After a blitzkreig of 13 songs.The band quickly thanked the audience, then finished with the unstoppable bass line and belting of “Wet Blanket” (“I’m passed out on the floor, I with you would stop the room from spinning around”- very appropriate to end this night).