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Bully: Proving There's Still Good Punk at The Woodward Theater

Photo credit: Mike Lawrie/

Punk didn’t die in the ‘80s, in fact, it is very much still alive. Now sure, the days of seeing people in the scene walking around with giant spike mohawks dyed green have, for the most part, been gone for awhile. Although, I do see from time to time people trying to bring that look back (I’m looking at you Northside). Anyway, the point I’m trying to make is there is still good punk music being made, and on April 27th at Woodward Theater you can catch some of the best punk bands out there right now. Who are these bands? They are Swim Team, Shellsheg, and Bully.

Founded by vocalist Lilly Anne Currens and guitarist John Hoffman, Swim Team is a local band that is falling in line with a lot of punk bands in the scene nowadays. With gritty, distorted guitar riffs, high-pitched female vocals that almost sound like screaming then switching gear immediately to a low almost forced monotone vocals, Swim Team is bringing the kind of punk sound bands like Smut, Melkbelly, and Tweens are breaking through the music scene with. With currently only a self-titled full-length album out, Swim Team is a band that may just be getting their feet wet in the local music scene, but with their authentic punk rock sound they will for sure be a band you will want to keep a lookout for.

Following Swim Team you can also catch another great punk band, Shellsheg. Formed in 1997 in Brooklyn by DIY pioneers Jen Shagawat and John Driver, these guys are definitely the seasoned veterans of the show. With multiple full-length albums available going all the way back to 2008, Shellshag is a band that has gone through a lot of different phases in their sound. This growth is very apparent when listening to their albums. At one moment you’ll be listening to a song like “Medley” from their album Shellsheg Forever that has a very pop punk influence to it then from that same album listen to a song like “Driving Song” that has a more ‘90s lo-fi punk sound. I would say they are similar to bands like Pope, Happy Diving, and The Ramones on their more upbeat tracks but when they decide to slow the tempo down they have more of a sound that bands like Soccer Mommy, Snail Mail, and LVL UP have. To add to their multidimensional punk sound they also put on a show that demands attention from the audience. When performing on stage Driver and Shagawat will stand unconventionally, almost face to face, on stage instead of directly at the audience all while playing their music through a DIY amplifier that looks like something out of a sci-fi movie. This is a band you definitely don't want to miss out on seeing.

Headlining the show is Nashville-based punk rock band Bully. Formed by Alicia Bognanno after playing for Nashville power pop band King Arthur, the band consists of Alicia on vocals and guitar, Stewart Copeland on the drums, guitarist Clayton Parker, and bassist Reece Lazarus. With currently two full-length albums out, Bully is a band that has received a lot of national acclaim for such a young band, with articles written about them on national music sites like Noisey, NPR, and Pitchfork. Not to mention, they have performed at many music festivals including Bonnaroo, and have even played live on Conan O'Brien’s TV show.

The sound that Bully puts out is punk to the core. It’s loud, brash, unapologetic, and when Alicia sings you can tell there is some real emotion behind the lyrics. It is with this loud and brash sound that makes them a lot like bands like Diet Cig, Charly Bliss, Screaming Females, and Daddy Issues. With that being said their sound has a unique element that the aforementioned bands don’t have---many of the guitar riffs are not overtly punk in nature and have more of a ‘90s indie rock sound like Pavement or Dinosaur Jr.

The night of April 27th is a night you definitely want to be at The Woodward Theater to check all of these awesome bands out. It may not be the ‘80s anymore, but with bands like these playing it will definitely prove that good punk rock is still being made. So go ahead and dust off the studded leather jacket that you haven’t worn since you were in your 20’s (we won’t judge you.) Be sure to come say hi to the folks at INHAILER; we will be hanging out by the merch tables and would love to meet more music-obsessed people like ourselves.

When: April 27, 2018. Doors open at 8:00PM, Show starts at 9:00PM

Where: The Woodward Theater

How much: Advanced: $12, $14 day of show



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