You certainly wouldn’t have known it based on the sparse crowd gathered last Thursday night at Brooklyn’s premiere, hipster bowling destination The Gutter, but the evening was about to deliver something very special. If anything you might have thought upon entering that something had just ended. The room gave off a vibe of conclusion and settled dust. But it didn’t matter and I didn’t care because even though the world at large appeared to be clueless, I knew why I was there. My mission was simple. I was there to see Boyscott; a band who’s music I knew like the back of my hand and who’s lead singer Scott Hermo I had been looking forward to meeting ever since we’d begun exchanging emails over a year ago.
When I walked into the room I recognized Scott instantly. We greeted each other and made small talk for a bit, both acknowledging how funny it is to meet someone in person after knowing them in a virtual context for such a long period of time. He and his band had driven up from Virginia to play a string of dates with Emma Willer of Slumbers, Blaketheman1000, and for this gig only, a local Brooklyn group called Twiga. Scott was a bit under the weather but was excited for the show and being a Jersey native, was particularly psyched to drive back to Montclair after the gig for some much needed rest and a brief stay with the fam.
By the time Emma Willer took the stage people were slowly starting to trickle in and everyone had formed a tight group in front of the stage. I had never heard Willer’s band Slumbers before, but she delivered a beautiful set of simple, yet poignant songs that held the audience captive despite a few minor slips. The tone of her voice is pure, soft and pitch perfect. Think Julien Baker meets Cat Power, or somewhere along those lines.
Boyscott was next. I stood to the right of the stage clenching my overpriced beer in anxious anticipation. And then it began. The four piece started their set with an impeccable rendition of “Embarrassingly Enough”; a sweeping love song off their debut album Goose Bumps. With Emma Willer joining the band on keys and backing vocals the songs sounded polished and road tested. Boyscott is the kind of band that creates music that takes you back to a certain time and place. Their melodies uproot memories and the music transports you. When listening to their album Goose Bumps one word and emotion that I always return to is ‘nostalgia’. The songs are upbeat and sunny, but at the same time introspective and fueled by a fondness for the past. Hermo himself is only 22 years old and that youthful energy shines through in the music and in the performance of the songs as well. Kind of hard to imagine that someone so young could be longing for days gone by, as if the best of life has already come and gone. But Scott’s songs are like little time capsules, and taking a trip down memory lane is as simple as pressing play. About halfway through the set some finely tuned British dude walked into the room and yelled something about how he was from London and that the band “better be good” which is obviously a subjective matter, but luckily the band had just kicked into “Nova Scotia 500”, an irresistibly catchy, surf-rock number (and a personal fave), and the lad quickly zipped his lip. The band rounded out the night with their song “Blonde Blood” (another fave) and just like that it was over and I was left to navigate the perils of my unpaid tab and the dimly lit hallways of The Gutter.
Before signing off I do need to mention the absolute absurd beauty that was Blaketheman1000. They took the stage after Boyscott and they rocked the room with the quirky, blacked-out swagger of a sleazy mudslide. It was glorious. I kept telling people that they reminded me of Harvey Danger but I think everyone at the show was too young to understand my reference. Their music made me forget about the world for a minute and that’s exactly what music should do. Plus Blake gave me a pin that said “I have a really small penis and I listen to Blaketheman1000”, so there’s that…