Hot off the release of their great new album Lucky For You, Bully brought the hits to Racket NYC for a rough and rowdy show of alt-rock bliss.
Four albums in and Alicia Bognanno's band Bully have proven to be full of killer hooks that catapult you back to a classic alt-rock era that suddenly feels alive again and brimming with new promise. While more and more acts seem to embrace the sweet sound of the '90s, Bully have been leading the charge for a few years now and as they ripped through an impressive set at New York's Racket, it's clear that their confidence and passion (in addition to Alicia's knack for a stellar riff) are the reasons they're at the head of the pack. "Where to Start" couldn't have been a more fitting opener as Bognanno's compassionate snarl whizzed through her mic as the sludgy guitars buzzed their way through heavy feedback and hints of rage before crushing into "Trying," another revved-up banger that puts distorted guitar on full blast, ready to shake the crowd into a pure fever that would run high all of night long. These blown-out songs pulsated with life as sinewy guitars cut like laser beams through lush walls of sound and thundering basslines which added extra weight to each track, acting as a grounder to the soaring melodies. Each bruising number was met a sugar rush of energy that beamed through each raging chorus and made the night come alive with amped up feelings that the crowd sent right back to the stage with utter joy. It was a night of blissful rock that hit with a snarky, bleeding edge, giving the night a crushing attitude and seething bite which helped unleash an onslaught of feelings of which the crowd seemed so eager to dispose. Extra crunchy guitar was laid on ultra-thick for "I Remember," yet another headbanging tune that would've been poised for MTV's 120 Minutes during its prime, but still sounds so energetic and full of life today that it feels less like a tribute to the past and more like a hallmark of the modern era. Alicia didn't waste much time addressing the crowd, mostly taking a moment to say that it was the most fun she'd ever had at a New York show and then to briefly wish her drummer a happy birthday. The rest of the night was crammed with as much music as possible, the group wasting no time moving from hit to hit and keeping the spirits high and the mosh pit moving. "Days Move Slow" was surely the biggest smash of the night with the crowd leaping up and down during its pogo-punk beat while the grunge-pop chorus rocketed to the rafters. It's a song that begs to be played at maximum volume while cruising down the road, windows down, sunglasses firmly in place, shouting along to the chorus with the utmost joy and if that's not possible, being in a crowded room full of people collectively rocking out to it must be the next best thing. "This is the first time we've played a lot of these songs," Alicia called out towards the end of the night, but you'd never believe it given the band's surging presence and their air-tight grooves. Even their most thrashing moments were still reigned-in with total control, never once letting anything over power the moment. "Ms. America" was a steamy number that helped close out the main set as the fuzz cranked out through the guitars and ethereal synths washed over the stage, giving a brief moment of serenity before the heavy hooks pulled us all back into mayhem of unrelenting alt-rock bliss. "Do you want another one or a cover?" Alicia asked for the encore before deciding to just go for both. She ended with a radical version of Jackson Brown's moving "These Days," that was nearly unrecognizable and took on a new life as a surreal grunge ballad before her band came back for the all out rage fest of the aptly titled "All This Noise." The night was sealed then and there as Bully proved that not only are they on the heels of perhaps their best album yet, but luckily for us, the others are pretty strong as well.