BEING THERE: Bully @ Boot & Saddle


Photo by TOM BECK

If you ask me, it wasn’t until the turn of the century when Nashville really started earning it’s stripes as the country’s “Music City.” It really wasn’t until 2000 when the city started pumping out great bands that weren’t country artists. Since that time, Kings of Leon, The Dead Weather, Kopecky, Diarrhea Planet, and a slew of other bands added to the diversity of the Nashville scene, which, up until that point, was mostly just a country scene. Both Jack White and The Black Keys left their respective hometowns of Detroit and Akron, Ohio to move there (perhaps proving to be too much for one city to handle at times). But the latest addition to the barrel? Bully, the brainchild of Alicia Bognanno, one smart cookie who had a not-so-punk-rock education, taking the college route after high school and earning herself a Bachelor of Science in Audio Engineering. While taking classes at a Tennessee university, Bognanno learned how to play guitar and piano. She then used those newfound musicianship and audio engineering skills to make a kick-ass punk rock album. Bognanno took these skills to the Boot & Saddle last night, performing a slew of songs from the band’s only album to date, Feels Like. She graced the stage wearing an oversized hoodie, jeans and frazzled punk rock hair, which hid her face as she sung the band’s opening track, “I remember,” and for most of the rest of the night. Let’s cut to the chase — The best part of the night was that the band was tight as fuck, making the shitty acoustics of the Boot and Saddle sound almost decent. The band’s best song, “Trying,” got the loudest applause of the roughly 45-minute set, and earned the award for ‘song with the most cell phone cameras out at one time.’ The worst part of the show? The crowd’s lack of energy, which made the show feel more like a punk rock funeral. But the band earned itself a better crowd. In many aspects, the show actually felt like a Ramones show at CBGB, as the band plowed through songs and kept the energy up by barely taking any breaks to talk to the crowd, and when they did, audience ramblings were kept short and sweet. Among these ramblings, Bognanno basically thanked Philadelphia for not being New York, where she said the weather was muggy and the streets were dirty. “Because Philadelphia is sooo clean!” an audience member sarcastically shouted back in a typical self-deprecating Philadelphia fashion. Yes, Philly is a shithole. But it’s our shithole, and Bully is welcome any time. — TOM BECK