With a brand-new album Natural, Everyday Degradation in tow, Remo Drive made their triumphant return to New York City’s Bowery Ballroom on June 8th. Alongside openers Slow Bullet and Slow Pulp, the Minnesota rockers delivered an evening worthy of near-constant crowd-surfing and moshing. Here are five highlights from the gig:
Slow Bullet Got the Party Going
The Wisconsin band ignited the substantial crowd that had already gathered early at the venue. With a terse, 20-minute set, Slow Bullet helped the moshing begin. On “She Can Make Me Crumble,” the crowd pogoed and clapped along to the track’s energetic bassline.
Slow Pulp Delivered Sweet Riffs
Also hailing from Wisconsin, Slow Pulp took the stage next. Bringing some more chilled-out riffs at the start of their set, lead singer and guitarist Emily Massey eventually let her voice loose, hitting a sustained high note on the soaring track “New Media.” On “High,” the track started with just her vocals and guitar work. About midway through, the vocalist paused briefly, taking in the crowd. Suddenly, all her bandmates joined in for a heavy breakdown. The crowd responded by resuming their raucous moshing. Massey even crowd-surfed at the very end of the band’s last song, “At Home.”
Remo Drive Gave a Full Album Performance
Finally, it was time for Remo Drive to play to the packed crowd. Throughout the entirety of the set, the rockers managed to play all 11 tracks of Natural, Everyday Degradation. However, they interspersed their older hits with their newer stuff, and also avoided just playing the new record front-to-back to help keep things fresh.
The band delivered one of many seamless transitions between songs for “Shakin’” and “Ezra and Marla.” The former gave an emo spin on AC/DC’s classic chorus from “You Shook Me All Night Long.” And on the latter, brothers Erik (vocalist/guitarist) and Stephen Paulson (bassist) leaned into their stage presence, strafing by each other. The crowd eagerly clapped along to Stephen’s bouncing bassline on “The Truth.” And the audience proved eager to crowd surf even on the slower jams, like the wistful “Separate Beds,” which saw Erik trading off vocals with drummer Sam Bekt.
Lost and Found
Speaking of crowd surfing, the moshing and movement of the crowd was so intense that the band ended up pretty much running a lost and found from the stage in between songs. After “Separate Beds,” a crowd surfer tumbled onto the stage, looking for a missing Vans sneaker. The fans scoured the floor for a few seconds and quickly found the missing shoe. Erik delivered a triumphant Super Mario riff, and the fan belly flopped back into the crowd… only to promptly faceplant.
Following next track “Around the Sun,” a phone made its way onstage, and Stephen managed to get someone to call the device to reclaim it. Since there was no barricade and no security in front of the stage, crowd surfers were being constantly deposited onstage with the band — sometimes as many as three or four simultaneously. One fan did get too up close and personal, kissing Erik on the cheek. Stephen quickly quashed that: “There’s personal boundaries and personal respect. Don’t do that shit.”
The crowd enthusiastically cheered, and with a bit of order restored, the set was able to continue without further incident.
The Heavy Hitters
Of course, the fans were also here to hear the band’s classics, and Remo Drive delivered. They opened their set with “Art School,” and the crowd truly was “a sea of bodies” pumping their fists in unison to Erik’s rollicking guitar riff. The rockers brought the main portion of their set full circle by closing with “I’m My Own Doctor.” On this track, Erik stepped away from the mic, swinging his arm upwards to goad the crowd to sing along. The vocalist even interpolated a bit of The Outfields’ “Your Love” in the coda as the crowd went wild.
The band briefly departed the stage, as cheers of “Remo! Remo!” quickly emerged. The band promptly returned, and ended their encore with “Song of the Summer” and their biggest hit “Yer Killin’ Me.” After the former, Remo Drive broke into a bit of a jam band-esque instrumental interlude. Stephen marched along to Bekt’s rapidly accelerating drum beat, before Erik burst in with the opening riff of the last track. As soon as the crowd realized the song, they expertly clapped along. For a few more minutes, the fans belted out the words and the final crowd surfers caught the last few waves headed toward the stage.