The noisy indie pop punk trio Weakened Friends popped through New York on their way down from their home base in Portland, Maine for an intimate early show at Mercury Lounge. The threesome of guitarist and frontwoman Sonia Sturino, bassist Annie Hoffman, and drummer Cam Jones have been garnering more buzz than a hive of bees for the last couple years with a unmistakably 90’s grunge rock sound, but now with J. Mascis of Dinosaur Jr. having lent his unmistakable guitar fuzz to their new single “Hate Mail,” the buzzing of lionization has become more like a mighty roar.
Opening the show was Belmar, NJ’s bad boys Toy Cars. Their expansive lineup and power ballad persona make for a spirited show with a mix of the slower emotional parts and high-energy rockers. They definitely picked up a bit of that epic Springsteen anthem shtick coming from so close to Asbury Park, as well as some of the classic dirty punk rage. Matteo DeBenedetti is clearly a very talented frontman and the whole band has definitely got their shit together.
Next was one of my newest local Brooklyn band crushes, the crashing indie pop punkers Big Bliss. This trio of guitarist and frontman Tim Race, bassist Wallace May, and drummer Cory Race form such a supremely blissful unit, it’s hard not to become transfixed. Their sound gives me strong visions of bands like Echo and the Bunnymen, the Cure, Radiohead, and Interpol, and for more reasons than Race’s booming baritone, but is also confidently itself and not just stuck in nostalgia. Their post-punk growl is so massively tasty that it’s hard not to want to devour every little crumb.
Weakened Friends are absolutely electrifying live. They offset the fuzzy guitar riffs, ripping basslines, and that classic indie rock 4/4 drum drive with Sturino’s siren-like voice and A-bomb guitar wails and Annie Hoffman’s Tigger the tiger impression bouncing about the stage. Their power and the energy prove a potent combo as long hair gets whipped around with hurricane force, ear drums get good and pierced, and walls of sound get pulverized. They are a band who is clearly going places, so don’t be stupid and miss them now as they’ll clearly start headlining much bigger stages in the very near future.
Article: Dean Keim