As Brooklyn’s The Denzels walked onstage Friday night at the Bowery Ballroom, from lead vocalist Tommy Hinga’s shirt alone, it was clear that good times were ahead. It looked like a casual white T-shirt, but when the frontman turned around to pick up his guitar, sloppily written in black marker on the bottom of the shirt was “Fuck The Denzels.” Well, ok then.
With a no-fucks-given attitude, the fivesome immediately began tearing the stage apart with their blend of surf and garage rock. Set highlights “Something I’m Not” and “Too Late” were crowd favorites, causing many to sway along with the sweet melodies emanating from the stage. At one point, keyboardist Aman Ellis switched to guitar, leaving Hinga free to play with the microphone and try out some reverberated whistling. After each song, much to the amusement of the crowd, Hinga would sheepishly eek out a high-pitched “Thank you!”. No, thank you, The Denzels.
Next to take the stage was hometown hero Spiderman (yes, that one), who walked onstage to the Rocky theme song. Confusion and amusement washed over the audience as we were covered in silly string. The superhero welcomed Drowners to the stage, who reveled in their walk-on music. The Rocky theme seemed like the perfect energy-boosting music, that is, until Drowners began playing. The group opened with “You’ve Got It All Wrong,” and all seemed right with the world as the silly string-covered audience danced along to Drowners’ pop tunes.
Though they’ve yet to release a full-length, Drowners played several new songs throughout their set—much to the appreciation of the crowd. As strongly as songs like “Little Red Book” were received, their old classics were just as welcome. “A Shell Across The Tongue” from last year’s Between Us Girls EP validated Drowners superhero introduction. The band played with such clarity in their riffs, bass lines and slick melodies, I found myself thinking of their set days later.
SKATERS didn’t come onstage with a superhero introduction, but they didn’t need it. Immediately springing into their set with “Fear Of The Knife,” SKATERS had the crowd cheering from the onset. With his mic stand doubling as a giant walking stick, vocalist Michael Ian Cummings looked like nothing in the world could deter him from his laid-back attitude. This chilled-out vibe was consistent throughout SKATERS’ performance. As calm, cool, and collected as the band looked onstage, the audience’s reaction on the floor was anything but. There was an unusually long break in the middle of fan-favorite “I Wanna Dance (But Don’t Know How),” but rather than remaining silent, the crowd erupted in cheers and began moshing. Mid-set, Michael Ian Cummings asked the audience, “Are you here to see us, or for the A/C?” While the air conditioning at the Bowery was a very enticing bonus, it was no secret the crowd was there for SKATERS.