Pile, Bully Pulpit
The Tin Roof
Thurs. Dec. 1
It’s one thing to support a familiar act you’re by attending their shows around town, but it’s quite another to catch a knockout band you’ve never heard of. I enjoyed the loud, riffy rock sounds of two bands for the first time.
Locals Bully Pulpit opened with a solid set of riffage, rhythm, and hectic hollering. Powered by heavy-hitting drummer Lawrence John and bassist Kelly Burt, their high-energy bombast worked mostly off of guitarist Rex William Stickel’s Les Paul cacophony and singer Edward Enword’s (a.k.a. Danny Kavanaugh) sneering delivery. Most of the set of originals thumped with cranked-up, carefully distorted tones and the same boogie-woogie stuff that inspired early works by the Kiss, the MC5, the Stooges, and AC/DC. Loud and noisy in the best way.
Stickel somehow managed to switch from rhythm and lead guitar parts, sounding like two players at once. Enword’s animated, punk-inspired stage presence reminded me of Iggy Pop’s wide-eyed, confrontational style crossed with the Jesus Lizard’s David Yow convulsive physicality. It matched the music’s aggressiveness. More than a few tunes seemed inspired by the guitar intro of Kiss’ “Detroit Rock City.”
Pile came on stage as cool, gracious, and bearded Bostonians with a sense of humor (they jokingly referred to Boston as “the city that never sleeps”). Led by lefty guitarist and vocalist Rick Maguire, the band looked like longtime road trip veterans with a sense of focus and determination. There was no dilly-dally before they launched into their brief set of originals.
Maguire’s dense amp tone paired well with Matt Connery’s slightly-fuzzed-up bass sound. Drummer Kris Kuss created huge sounds out of his standard four-piece kit. His sense of feel balanced his impressively precise technique, which anchored the magnificent noisiness of the more challenging songs of the set.
Precision played a major role in the band’s dynamic, stop-and-start set, much of which came from the album Magic Isn’t Real and their new three-song Big Web Seven Inch. Maguire’s singing resembled the nasal monotone of J Mascis (especially on the more catchy and melodic numbers) and the Pixies’ Black Francis.
Elements of early-era hardcore, proggy indie-rock, and dissonant post-punk played into the style. Fortunately, the fringe characteristics enhanced the band’s sound more than they distracted from it. The crowd dug it. So did this first-timer.