Earlier today I wasn’t planning on seeing any shows and was committed to exploring the surroundings of my new apartment (and working on the Miscreant piece) instead. A single tweet changed my entire course of action. All thanks are due to Bella Union’s Sally Hedberg for unexpectedly alerting me to a free in-store set at Rough Trade. I’d meant to catch Bully at one of their several Northside shows after spending the previous weeks fawning over their incredible Feels Like, a viable Album of the Year candidate. While I wasn’t able to attend any of those, I was able to make the easy quarter-mile walk to Rough Trade and salvaged what just hours ago had seemed like an egregious misfire.
After making my way to the front, Bully set in on a ferocious set that showcased guitarist/vocalist’s Alicia Bognanno’s vocals as much as it did the impressive overall musicality of the entire group. The rhythm section was locked in and the guitar work was incendiary but Bognanno has the kind of weaponized voice that’s impossible to override with anything else. Front and center, she led her band through a tightly controlled set that never took its foot of the gas pedal. By the time the band had torn through a set of fiery highlights, it was abundantly clear that their aim’s higher- and far more specific- than most bands venturing into major label territory. By retaining their artistic integrity and firing on every conceivable cylinder, they’re among the most promising acts of today- something further enhanced by their live show. All that’s left is to hope more bands follow their lead.
Photos and videos of their Rough Trade set can be viewed below. Feels Like can (and should) be pre-ordered here or picked up at Rough Trade NYC.