Bully Brings Smoldering Vocals & Grinding Guitars To Hudson NY’s Club Helsinki (SHOW REVIEW/PHOTOS)

Nashville band Bully, still basking in the glow of their debut album, Feels Like, hit the road again and landed in the sleepy upstate town of Hudson, NY to open their US tour. Club Helsinki is a very cool performance space with a vintage nightclub feel with tables on multiple levels that enhances the live music experience. It also features a trendy gourmet restaurant.

The opening band, Palehound, began their set with a song so new it has no title yet. The song began with Ellen Kempner’s gently strumming guitar and mesmerizing vocals before the song seemed to swell as the other two-thirds of the band joined in. The singer/guitarist/songwriter showed some great guitar chops in the more up-tempo “Molly”. Along with admirable attempts to entertain the crowd during the awkward times the band paused to re-tune, Kempner’s sense of humor also shined in the quirky “Pet Carrot” that closed out their set.

Bully entered the stage and singer/guitarist Alicia Bognanno informed the subdued crowd still seated after Palehound’s set that it was okay to get up and get in front of the stage. Many fans did just that as the band went into full attack with “Too Tough” which sounded straight out of the 90’s Seattle grunge scene. “Brainfreeze” showed the band’s punk influence with scorching vocals and growling guitars. The song “Milkman”, which blurred the lines between punk, alternative, grunge and old school straight-ahead rock, was a highlight of the set. It is interesting that the classic American icon of a milkman that has been outdated since before any member of Bully was born, made its way into the imagination of Bognanno.  Grinding guitars and Bognanno’s smoldering vocals along with just about every emotion that can be depicted in a song continued as the band tore through their catalog which consists of the band’s debut album, Feels Like, including one of the standout tracks, “Trying”. The set ended as furiously as it began with “I Remember”. Bully returned to stage and performed a cover of Butthole Surfers “Who Was in My Room Last Night”

Two great upcoming bands, both with stellar debut albums, in the setting of Club Helsinki’s killer performance space made for an excellent night of live music. Palehound and Bully parted ways after this performance as they are both touring with other bands for stretch of shows but are re-uniting down the road for several shows.

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