The first night of a tour can be nerve-racking, but neither Bully nor Palehound seemed to be phased. Both bands pushed through their shorts sets with little to no talk between songs, which let the music say everything they wanted to. Helsinki Hudson is an interesting venue, with seating around the main floor in front of the stage and the next two levels. Though people were having dinner and drinks while enjoying Palehound, many got up out of their seats and danced wildly during Bully’s set, which is no knock on Palehound.
Palehound is a three piece band based out of Boston who are just getting their names out after releasing their debut album Dry Food last summer. Most of the songs started off quiet, with Ellen almost whispering the words and strumming her guitar, followed soon by Jeese and Davood coming in on drums and bass respectively to fill the song out and make it rock.
Though many of the tracks weren’t overpowering, there is space in the music to let what is going on flourish and sway you. “Cinnamon” had some great guitar work by Ellen, while “Pet Carrot” had some of the best lyrics. I wish the vocals had been turned up a little more as Ellen’s lyrics could be drowned out at times. If Palehound shows up near the bottom of a festival bill or is an opener at a show you’re at this year, make sure to get there early to check them out.
Bully strode on stage a little while later, and for an hour more often than not segued one song into the next with their punk infused grungy dirty rock and roll. Though I doubt the band would admit it, they ooze coolness from the stage that is invigorating and really gets a crowd moving. Having seen them at Boston Calling, I knew what to expect and the band didn’t disappoint.
Their music isn’t complex by any means, but it has a great air of hope to it with the intensity in which they play. Alicia’s vocals had some extra growl in them, most likely due to having been off the road for a while. Bully also looks like they have non-stop fun on stage while playing, with smirks between band members being seen both during and after songs. After a rousing set the band took almost no time to come back on stage for an encore of the Butthole Surfers “Who Was in My Room Last Night,” which suits the band perfectly. Bully is prime to have a big year and has already been announced for a few festivals and it shouldn’t be much longer before they are playing rooms far larger than this one.
Article: Bryan Lasky