"Look Mom, I'm Headlining Bowery Ballroom!"

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Brooklyn locals, Pela couldn’t hide their excitement on Saturday when they performed as headliners for the first time at Bowery Ballroom. The band has been a mainstay in the local scene for about 5 years and had played the popular venue many times before, but always as an opener. Graduating to the headline spot at the Bowery Ballroom is a surefire sign of the band’s growing popularity and bright future. The quartet took full advantage of this opportunity and played a thrilling set of rolling rock tunes, led by the passionate lead of singer/guitarist Billy McCarthy. McCarthy brought the energy of Springsteen to a sound that finds itself somewhere between the Pixies, Replacements and U2. The mood was celebratory, almost like watching the local little league team win the championship. A smiling McCarthy asked the crowd if they wanted to hear a new song, and then all alone on stage, he proceeded to captivate with a beautiful little song that he had just written. The audience showed much deserved appreciation, and McCarthy must’ve felt on top of the world. Joined again by the full band, Pela later brought out a horn section for a few songs, including the vibrant “Cavalry.”

While it may have been Pela’s night, three other local bands (Elk City, Jealous Girlfriends,, and Balthrop, Alabama) did their best to leave their mark. Most notable was Jealous Girlfriends, who look like they’ll be headlining their own shows at the Bowery Ballroom in no time. They always seem to be playing somewhere in the city, and with every show, their following grows. They get better and better, with a sound that at one minute resembles Sonic Youth, and at another Fiona Apple, all  along sounding like the product of a single band.

Catch these bands now before they blow up and can no longer play the smaller intimate venues.


Elk City

Jealous Girlfriends

Balthrop, Alabama

Photos courtesy of [Jonny-Leather]

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