Pela : Live

<img src="" alt=" " />Pela’s ready to conquer the world after riding out of their hometown of Brooklyn on a high note....

  The local act is just starting up their coast-to-coast tour, and began it right, by rocking the Music Hall in Williamsburg (QRO venue review) on Wednesday, February 27th.  There was an excitable bombast to the entire evening, with singer/guitarist Billy McCarthy leading the crowd in the explosive event.

The set started out with a song about the ‘City of Brotherly Love’, but you could be forgiven just this once for thinking that it lay not on the Delaware, but the East River.  When the Manhattan-based venue operators Bowery Presents rode the L out to Bedford Avenue and took over the venerable Northsix, many in the borough feared it would lose its local nature (and refurbishing the insides with a layout plan carbon-copied from Bowery Ballroom (QRO venue review) didn’t help…).  But with a show like this, Pela’s only in the entire Big Apple, Music Hall has kept its hometown appeal.

The expansive, emotional power of Pela’s full-length debut, Anytown Graffiti (QRO review) can come off as a little pleading and emo at times on record, but live, the band is able to just push it to the stratosphere.  The catchy cool of “Lost To the Lonesome” was not subdued but exuberant, while the following neo-New Wave of “Drop Me Off” didn’t let itself get too serious.  The first half of the set was dominated Anytown’s epic numbers like those two, driving record opener “Waiting On the Stairs”, and a more fun version of “Songs Writes Itself”.  The band did slowly shift into a sadder gear, midway through, though “Trouble With River Cities” played far louder than on record, and it was followed by “Writes Itself” and a rollicking, barroom sing-along piece.

Pela playing “Trouble With River Cities” live at Music Hall in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY:

Also see them playing “Song Writes Itself”

It was only with “Your Desert’s Not a Desert At All” that Pela really changed the tempo, and unfortunately some of the energy did leave the room on that orchestral number, then even more so on McCarthy’s new, almost torch song, “St. Clyde the Cop”.  However, both pieces were certainly beautiful, and did show another side of the band.  The group went “Headlong” into the end of the set with the bright, shining new anthem that stood well next to epic finisher “Tenement Teeth”.  The band returned for their encore by throwing down a fun version of The Pixies’ classic “Holiday Song”.  They then closed down the house by bringing in the “Cavalry”; this pressing piece (written by newest bandmate, keyboardist Christopher Herb) had particularly rocking presence, live.

Pela playing “St. Clyde The Cop” live at Music Hall in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY:

There’s an ‘Americana’ feel to Pela’s rock ‘n’ roll that will translate across the fruited plains of these United States on their upcoming tour.  However, the band remains thankfully Brooklyn at heart.

Concert Reviews
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