By Jillian Harrington, Contributing Writer
Monday night, alt-rock band Bully took to the Music Hall of Williamsburg for the fourth show in their tour with opener Aye Nako. Bully lead singer and guitarist Alicia Bognanno delivered the frantic grunge rock energy that has made her band popular.
Bully – the brainchild of Bognanno, Stewart Copeland, Clayton Parker, and Reece Lazarus – was born in 2013 in Tennessee, and the foursome has been touring and releasing music ever since. Their sophomore album, “Losing,” was released last month and is in many ways comprised of grittier expansions of themes from debut album “Feels Like.” Monday’s set consisted of songs mainly from this new album, with choice picks from previous years.
Brooklyn-based Aye Nako introduced spirited punk to the crowd, rousing and preparing audience members for the noisy, guitar-driven music that was to follow. Then, promptly, Bully stole the stage from Aye Nako and heightened the excitement. Bognanno’s impressive voice ran clear and strong – cutting above the instruments and never being letting the lyrics be drowned out. The band too recreated the albums accurately for the audience, establishing an environment both intimate and unifying.
Bully began their set with “Seeing It” from their new album and followed with more recent releases. The crowd seemed less familiar with the songs from “Losing” in particular. However, when the opening riffs to fan favorites such as “Trying” and “Milkman” played, the crowd became noticeably more boisterous.
During these songs, fans screamed all the lyrics right back to Bognanno, suggesting more connection with and devotion to the older album than the new. The lack of crowd participation from songs like “Losing” was noticeable, but this is not to say the crowd was not engaged with the performance. Even in these moments, it was clear that the audience was appreciating Bully’s talent and distinct sound. People still lost themselves to the music.
After about an hour on stage, Bully closed out the performance and a two-song encore with “I Remember.” Here, the crowd became a pit of high energy, moshing, dancing, and hair-flipping in an homage Bognanno with her long, blonde fringe. When this song ended, there was a sense of regret amongst the crowd as to the question of where that same energy had been the better half of the show. Yet, Bully claimed that was their best show in Brooklyn to date, and audience members certainly were impressed with the skilled group.