Bully (Neurolux) – 3/2/18

Alicia Bognanno and crew conjure 90s Sub Pop vibes and bring the energy on this short but impassioned set.

The First Opener: Cmmnwlth

These local guys with no need for vowels or desire to share their name with the crowd kicked a lot of ass, playing a grungy brand of rock and roll.  I was ignorant to the presence of a third band and hadn’t done my pre-show homework (a rarity, but things have been “cray cray” lately).  Consequently, I mistook them for announced opener Melkbelly until they thanked us for coming and told us that Melkbelly was coming up next.  Oh, well, then who are you, gents?  We found out later when we met the band, and now look forward to seeing their upcoming Treefort set (Wednesday night).

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The Second Opener: Melkbelly

This was the weakest portion of the evening, as I found their music to be a bland and abrasive experience.  Credit to them for having energy but I would rather go see a bad Pixies cover band, or The Breeders (sorry).  They were fine, but Cmmnwlth was clearly better, and by the time their performance was done we were all ready to see Alicia do her thing.

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The headliner: Bully

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Alicia Bognanno is one of those talents that can be overlooked.  To begin with, she has a truly beautiful voice, but spends 80% of her time either distorting it into a sneer or straight up screaming.  Second, she is quite a guitar player, but sticks with the power chord grunge sound (and I am not complaining, by the way).  Finally, she is gorgeous, but seems to go out of her way to hide that fact, or at least doesn’t seem to care to use it to her advantage.  I guess what I am saying is that she is pretty badass.

As the singer/songwriter/lead guitarist/producer/engineer for Bully, Alicia is a force to be reckoned with.  Doing her best “Kurt’s little sister” imitation, she strolled onstage in an oh-so-90s cardigan, bleached blonde hair that covered her face, and soft/loud songs of pain and interpersonal drama.  For just over an hour, the crowd was hooked, hooting and hollering between each and every song. 

This is not to short-change her band, who played their guts out just to keep up.  We were entertained by the hunched over way her guitar player shreds.  The set was pretty short, but they did my two favorite Bully songs: “Hate and Control” and “Feel the Same”.  It also included an encore of two cover songs that I didn’t recognize, but all in all this was a great night.  I have said this before, but if the only complaint is that the show was too short, that usually means you are doing it right.  Check them out on their next stop here, you won’t regret it. 

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Setlist:

Six

Trash

Feel the Same

Guess There

Bully

Kills to Be Resistant

Hate and Control

Brainfreeze

Sharktooth

Either Way

Seeing It

Picture

Focused

Running

Trying

I Remember

 

Spotify playlist link:

https://open.spotify.com/user/1217400912/playlist/6q1YV0HxP3xA3rGjvPEqXs?si=rm8LhJJfRbKa3GW2nDJ0fA