So many times I’ll go to a show in New York that I’m really excited about and then become completely deflated as soon as I get there. I roll up to the venue (usually by myself) excited about this band and the crowd is so unenthusiastic it makes me want to scream “WHY DID YOU PAY TO COME HERE IF YOU’RE JUST GOING TO STAND APATHETICALLY DURING THIS BAND’S SET? YOU’RE NOT TOO COOL TO BE HERE BECAUSE YOU ARE HERE.”
I come to shows to get sweaty and dance and FEEL something, not to snap a selfie or drink an overpriced beer when I could have been home. Every once in a blue moon a show will come along that will met these expectations and restore my faith in the Brooklyn music scene as a place to have a wild time, and Charly Bliss, Colleen Green, and Upset was one of those shows.
Hosted at the always warm Shea Stadium , the room was packed from the get go with people buzzing excitedly. Colleen Green’s last album I Want To Grow Up got a lot of press last year, and Upset’s status as a punk supergroup (members from Hole, Vivian Girls, Best Coast, Slutever) made for a packed room.
I rolled it just as Charly Bliss was taking the stage, and the group of college aged kids were just as pumped as I was to be here. Punk has always been peppy, but Charly Bliss were like rays of sunshine. “We’re just so excited to be here” they gushed into the mic, and it showed. Naming upset and colleen green as”two of our favorite bands” the group jumped right into their set with the lead singer pogoing like Eloise after she’d stolen all the sweets from the kitchen. Her helium voice coupled with the hard right the band took into the realm of grunge punk made me think of Be Your Own Pet, but Charly Bliss is way more upfront about their pop intentions, breaking up the noise sections with groovy bass lines and killer harmonies. They’ve got the game on lock for sure, and I can’t wait for their album coming out this summer.
Next up was the reed thin Colleen Green, the act with the biggest buzz despite her position on the line up. Her her shyness during sound check disappeared, as soon as she put on her sunglasses and started her set with the ease of a stand-up comic. I Want To Grow Up’s heavy songs sounded like completely different animals with her traditional spartan setup of a drum machine and her gutair . Without the muscle of a full band, Green’s set reminded everyone that despite fancy collaborators or glamorous press, Colleen Green’s music is about the quit honesty of a women speaking her (maybe stoned) truth. Looking around the crowd watching people sing along to “I can do whatever I want” I got a fuzzy feeling not unlike the ones you feel at a summercamp bonfire. Colleens defiantly had the playfully wry sense of humor of a camp counselor, addressing a heckler’s cry of “MORE HANDCLAPS” with playing 12 in a row and then asking if he wanted more. If anything the crowd wanted to here Colleen Green louder, bigger, bolder. They want Colleen Green in her fully realized raucous form, but for now it was exciting to see her knowing she’s destined for bigger things.
The wildness the crowd wanted was given in spades by Upset, who finally got the stiff New York crowd to mosh, despite the solid line of professional photographers that made up the front row. Their songs were studied replications of late 90’s pop punk, complete with a Green Day cover. The voices Rachel Gagliardi (of Slutever) and band leader Ali Koehler (of Vivian Girls and Best Coast) blended seamlessly that recalled Veruca Salt, but the song structures were way more reminiscent of the Muffs. Patty Schemel ( of legendary grunge band Hole) drums with the steady nonchalance of a professional, and only added to the sense that I was living in a coming-of-age movie.
It was the magic that you look for in a concert, and whenever life in New York gets tough I’ll have the memory of looking on the floor of Shea Stadium for the band pins that the moshpit tore from my sweater, knowing that my 10$ ticket was well spent.
For those in Brooklyn, Charly Bliss is playing the Creative Cycle Benefit Show at the Silent Barn. Check out the flyer.
Upset and Colleen Green are still on tour, and you can catch them at the dates below.
Sat 4/18 The Real Lounge Missoula, MT
Sun 4/19 The Pizza Pit Moscow, ID
Mon 4/20 Black Lodge Seattle, WA
Tue 4/21 Bunk Bar Portland, OR
Wed 4/22 Farmhouse Arcata, CA
Thurs 4/23 Rickshaw Stop San Fran, CA
Fri 4/24 Fun Zone Santa Barbara, CA