Music lovers and bowlers alike filled up cavernous Brooklyn Bowl Wednesday night for a three-part show put on by bands Wray, The Pack A.D., and Man or Astro-Man?. The show, charged with guitar solos resulting in whiplash-level head-throwing, was a lesson in badassery, and the audience was its group of heedful students.
Wray, a rock band hailing from down south in Birmingham, Alabama, played a set of nine summery tunes. The band’s self-titled album hit the stands in July and features a carefree sound that is both full and light. Members David Brown on bass and vocals, David Swatzell on guitar and vocals, and Blake Wimberly on drums remained isolated from one another on the stage. Though they played their parts in their own zones, each was visibly committed to creating a cohesive, mellow resonance. Wray produced pillow-soft notes on top of which Brown and Swatzell laid down billowing vocals, ultimately creating a collective sound that is bigger than the sum of its individual parts.
Next on stage was The Pack A.D., an all-female garage punk band from Vancouver running two deep. Vox Maya Miller was an animal on the drums – and served up some great punch lines in between songs – and Becky Black shred her guitar within an inch of her life. Their rapport showed on stage as the two took turns cueing each other in and drawing energy from one another to mercilessly execute mind-blowing drum and guitar solos. The Pack A.D. made quite a bit of noise for two people, and the audience was awestruck by both their prowess and complete and utter badassery.
Surf revival group Man or Astro-man? was the headliner for the night, and after releasing its first album in over a decade, Man or Astro-man’s? enthusiasm to play for both old and new fans shone through in its theatrical performance. Band members dressed in astronautical wear and played in front of five screens showing scenes of science and space. Their songs, rarely accompanied by lyrics, feature hard-core guitar solos and fast-paced drum rhythms as shown in this video we took. After playing a set so full and thunderous that it drowned out all the action in the bowling alleys, Man or Astro-man? closed out with a theremin showdown resulting in one band member building a tower out of the drum set and, in a motion similar to an astronaut placing a flag on the moon, crowned the drum tower with a theremin.
Well played, Astro-men and Astro-women. Well played, indeed.
Article by: Alexa Tietjen
Photos by: Shayne Hanley