Briana Layon & The Boys + The Bowery Riots + Activist Dictators
Industry City Distillery, NY
It was Labor Day in The States this past weekend and what better way to celebrate 3 days off than with a Brooklyn rooftop party! And not just any old Brooklyn rooftop party – more like a party atop a vodka distillery with a view of Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty, $3 strong-as-an-ox vodka punch, beetroot shots (?!), gourmet sausage sandwiches, over 100 pounds of home made sauerkraut AND rock bands to boot! It was a glorious day put on by the good folk at Industry City Distillery and the following acts stole the stage on what was to be a Sunday evening of epic proportions.
Briana Layon & The Boys combine almost every element of rock when they come together. Rock, punk, country, blues, metal – Briana and the Boys have them all tied up in a neat little bow. Raised in Oklahoma the lady herself is a stellar front woman with strong vocals and an even stronger stage presence, leading the band – Chris DiBerardino (guitar), Mick Maverick (Bass), and Dan Bouley (drums) – through a steady procession of bone-thumping riffs, hammering drums and rumbling bass. Their heavy sound suited the open, power-line laden ICD rooftop well. Switching to their slower paced tunes Briana’s voice takes on a smooth and salty tone smoothing over the low bluesy chords emanating from the Boys. A great little rock’n’roll act, and it’s also nice to see a strong woman up front for a change. Stand out tracks include “The Rope” and “Playing Dead”, both available on their current EP The Rope.
Next, conjuring up the backwater dance hall days of boys with quiffs and cigarette packs rolled in their shirt-sleeves stealing kisses from doe-eyed girls with pin-curls and bobby socks, The Bowery Riots are reminiscent of The Stray Cats and Reverend Horton Heat with a dash of Bill Hayley and the alluring charisma of Link Wray. If someone were to ask me about new rock’n’roll this is the first band name that would come to mind. It’s raw, gritty, sexy and solid. They’re a tight little 3 piece – comprising of Justin Dean Thomas (Vocals/Guitar), TJ Rosenthal (Bass) and new man on the skins Warren Stubbs – who’s musical roots are clearly well founded, and tonight’s crowd agreed as they were the first band to get people up and dancing (even though their dancing skills were slightly vodka-impaired, ahem…). Stand out tracks are “Can’t Catch Me”, “Kalishnikov (AK47)” and the newly released “Nothin I Can Do”. Love it!!!
Last but not least were Activist Dictators who I believe have recently gone through a musical metamorphosis, a rock’n’roll reincarnation if you will. The band I saw were a melodic medley akin to the awesome shoegazing style of Dinosaur Jr., Sonic Youth and maybe a touch of old NYC No Wave such as Swans and the like. It was good. Damn good. However I believe the songs I’ve found on their band pages are old and do not quite match what I saw in reality. They’re not at all bad, they’re just very, very different. Hence I shall keep my good eye on David Kamm (Guitar/Vocals), Tommy Law (Bass/Vocals) and the rest of their musical journeyman, cause I liked what I saw, and I want to see more. Stand out tracks found on the interwebs include “Philosophy”, “Black Holes Part II” and “John 11:35”.
And I have since decided that spending a hot sticky humid night on a Brooklyn rooftop drinking copious amounts of vodka and watching bands just might be my favourite new pastime.