Bully @ Sneaky Pete's, Edinburgh, 22 May
Bully bandleader Alicia Bognanno prowls and howls her way through a heavyweight performance from the Nashville band
Bully don't care if you're ready for them. A point clearly proven by the opening whipcrack of Feel the Same, which goes off out of nowhere, like ten starting pistols taped together, and nearly scares full plastic pints out of the crowd's shaky hands before they have a chance to compose themselves.
But of course it doesn't take long for everyone to get the hint and sure enough, they're soon in the palm of bandleader Alicia Bognanno's hand, which takes the form of a fist for most of the night. While the group is solid and hard to fault as a whole, it is impossible to deny the obvious draw of Bognanno's snarling, ruthlessly melodic voice and engaging presence upfront; her heavy, treacle-y vocals dripping over the barbed wire bones of the Nashville crew's grizzled guitar pop, fusing it together with plenty of help from her white hot guitar chops.
Culling from just two albums to date, particularly last year's Sub Pop debut Losing – produced by Bognanno – the heaving swell of headbangers and limb-wavers that threatens to suck all passing traffic into its ever-expanding, sweaty abyss is given plenty of momentum to do so with a set that harks back to a time when anger was a universal truth and carthatic force, before it cynically became a corporate commodity.
Hitting their stride early on and taking us for nearly a dozen rounds, Bully conjure up one last big punch to the jaw we need to get truly knocked flat out, and hit us with an unexpected but totally crushing cover of McLusky's Lightsabre Cocksucking Blues. Patrolling the stage and addressing the crowd with the rabid fervour of a jacked up preacher, Bognanno prowls and howls her way to the end, while the rest of the group look like they're having way too much fun. A fitting end to a heavyweight performance.