[Live Review + Photography] The Bouncing Souls + Brian Fallon – Red Bull Sound Select: New York City

What can you do with $3? A beer? A shitty meal? It’s enough to buy a punk rock night in Brooklyn with the New Jersey punk rock veterans The Bouncing Souls and Brian Fallon of The Gaslight Anthem, plus New York punk newcomers Aye Nako and Nude Beach. On 30 September, these four bands from the East Coast gathered together at Music Hall of Williamsburg for Red Bull Sound Select (curated by Brooklyn Vegan and Brian Fallon) – a music event around the States which brings emerging musicians to the spotlight.

4 hours before the door was opened, there were at least 30 people lined up outside already for this first-come-first-served event. Inside the door, things were going hectic; with four bands to share the same stage for sound-checking and at least ten parties for site coordination.

(top: the queue and poster; bottom: The Bouncing Souls sound-checking)collage


So the show was kicked off at 8pm by Aye Nako, an up-and-coming pop-punk group from NYC. These young blood gave a refreshing opening to the night. Their upbeat pop punk tunes lighted up the hearts of the crowd. One interesting conversation arose from the crowd was the pronunciation of Aye Nako‘s name. It reads “eye nuh-ko” as we reconfirmed with them. Now you know it. Following Aye Nako was the Brooklyn trio Nude Beach, they kind of reminded me of Little Barrie from the UK, though not so electronic. They were more like a garage / alternative version of early Bruce Springsteen. It was quite an intensive performance.

(top: Aye Nako; bottom: Nude Beach)
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Not until 10pm co-headliner Brian Fallon finally took over the stage with his bandmate Alex Rosamilia from The Gaslight Anthem. Two acoustic guitars and a microphone – that was everything for the night, And it was more than enough. Brian Fallon performed a 12-song set including hits like Great Expectation. For anyone who has watched Fallon‘s acoustic performance before, you won’t have doubts about the quality of this show. It was so pure and heart-moving. It caught the souls of the hardcore punk rockers in the Hall. Everybody was so quietly looking up to Fallon & co. under the limelight, except one girl who was clearly abnormally emotionally-high and kept yelling “Fxxk you Brian, I love you”. This huge disturbance eventually got invited onto the stage by her beloved Mr. Fallon to sing with him and we all knew she would be sent to somewhere outside the crowd 3 minutes later. Only experienced musicians can settle this nicely. Well good job! The highlight on the set must be the full house singing I Walked With A Zombie leaded by Brian Fallon. The song was originally by Roky Erickson which was only composed of “I walked with a zombie” and “He walked with a zombie” in the lyrics. He claimed it was the of the best moment in his recent performance. Without expectation, the long-awaited The Bouncing Souls came out and jammed with the boys for the last three songs on acoustic. Another beautiful moment of the night winning hundreds of heart of the witnesses.

(top to bottom: Brian Fallon and Alex Rosamilia; Brian Fallon with The Bouncing Souls’ Greg Attonito and setlist; Brian Fallon with The Bouncing Souls’ Greg Attonito; Alex Rosamilia with The Bouncing Souls’ Bryan Kienlen)
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After 4 hours of waiting, The Bouncing Souls eventually started their own set in cheering and screaming. These Jersey boys immediately turned the atmosphere around. Every 30 seconds (or shorter) there was one person jumping onto the stage. The crowd was like being set on fire. It was violent yet gentle. Since there were no barricades and securities separating the stage and audience, the exchange of energy was so powerful. As usual, The Bouncing Souls delivered a fast, upbeat and energetic performance which is what they are famous for. There was no breaks or bullshits between songs. It was a whole smooth and continuous flow of sound. The set was composed of wide variety of songs throughout their 20-year music career – from I Like Your Mom of their 1994 release to their latest tune Comet; and of course their anthems like Kids and Heroes, True Believers and Lean On Sheena  which could not be missed. One thing worth to note is this was the first few shows The Bouncing Souls had played with the new drummer George Rebelo (originally from Hot Water Music) after the departure of Michael McDermott. To be frank it was the first time for meet see BS‘s show so I cannot compare the difference between McDermott and Rebelo. But as far as I heard from live I did not notice any awkwardness with Rebelo‘s drumming and the sound of the band.

(top to bottom: Bryan Kienlen and Greg Attonito with a stage diver; Greg Attonito; random stage diver; The Bouncing Souls; new drummer George Rebelo; setlist)
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Overall speaking, this Redbull Sound Select show was worth every penny of its ticket. The mosh pit was not the craziest but still fun to dive in. As a photographer I always refuse to take pictures from the side of the stage ’cause the pictures taken are going to lose all the tension of the show. It was interesting to do the photo-shoot surrounded by these passionate fans where you had to hold your camera firm while your head got kicked by stage-divers every single minute. Before I dropped my pen I’d like to give a credit to the one who picked the background music for including Fugazi‘s Waiting Room in the list. The singalong moment was quite enjoyable without any bands were actually on stage.

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