Live Review: Bully at U Street Music Hall, 11/15/17

"We're Bully, thanks for having us," came the disarmingly unassuming opening salvo from the stage. Certain people really were born to be on the stage. Bully's Alicia Bognanno is one of these people. With a presence both powerful and engaging, Bognanno and her Nashvillean bandmates put on a heck of a show at DC's U Street Music Hall.

Bognanno's sweet and sour vocals were on display from the get go, driving the band's wonderful, grungy racket. From sweet coos to almost feral howls, the lady owned the stage. The Sub Pop darlings were incredibly dynamic, perfectly rough around the edges as all good rock & roll bands ought to be but impeccable, controlled. This is a band that takes pride in delivering a quality performance. Bully wants to show the kids a good time, no doubt about it.  

An enthused crowd was treated to a long set that somehow went by in a flash. Adorably, a couple near me was dancing during some particularly shouty bits early on in the set. That moment, along with the band's prop of a lighted ice cream cone, added some cuteness to the outfit's propensity to snarl. My favorite song of the night was probably the perfect fuck you song that is "Trash," featuring the wonderful middle finger lyric "If I don't wanna listen/then I'm not going to." The racket from the stage was pure ear-splitting perfection. 

As special as it was to see Bully in the U Hall, I couldn't help but think that their next visit to DC might just see them playing a larger space. This is a band that was made to play to thousands of adoring fans, and it's not hard to imagine them doing so in the very near future. As good as they are on record, they're even better live. But don't just take my word for it - go see them for yourself. Just be prepared to leave the show with a new favorite band.    

[posted 11.28.17]

[photo by, via Bully's Facebook page]


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