New York City rock & roll band, Hollis Brown, played in front of a packed-house at Berlin NYC last Wednesday during the second performance of their Berlin NYC residency. We've been fortunate to lay eyes on this emerging five-piece band for the fifth time, as they continue to raise our eyebrows with compelling melodic content, compassionate lyrics and mastery in live performance. The group's roaring sound, blended with roots of classic rock influences, resonated across the crowd-filled venue. With our ears full of the phonic notes of rock & roll, blues and Americana, it's no surprise Hollis Brown has a place as one of the leading independent bands in the genre.
Stemming from their Record Store Day release, Cluster Of Pearls, Hollis Brown began their month long residency at Berlin NYC on May 4, 2016. As in their first performance, their second date gave us a touch of both their older and latest works, jamming out songs such as "Ride on The Train," "Faith & Love", "Sweet Tooth," "Rain Dance" and "Cold City" as well as their iconic finale with "John Wayne". Each song exemplified Hollis Brown's raw, yet heart-felt, sonic arrangements that illustrate the band's vivid lyrical style and versatile songwriting ability. Hollis Brown's jeering and rapturous melodies capture the essence of rock & roll, inviting us into a realm where classic and contemporary rock blends together perfectly.
Lead singer/songwriter, Mike Montali, crooned the intimate LES venue with commanding, yet subtle vocals, enticing the crowd to draw closer towards him - mesmerized by the band’s jaunty and bluesy western-esque melodies. Standing up front side-stage, the crowd pushed us closer to lead guitarist Jonathan Bonilla as he demonstrated his stormy guitar skills filled with affirmation and ferocity. Bonilla’s muscular work on the strings, along with balancing touches from pianist Adam Bock, drummer Andrew Zehnal and bassist Scott Thompson, offered audiences with a complex and firmly rooted rock & roll sound that portrayed a heart-felt authenticity that radiated off stage.
International front-man, Tony Wright of VerseChorusVerse, kicked off the showcase with his musical brilliance that has spanned across the UK, Ireland and Europe. His polarizing lyrics and keen musical experimentation in the rock & roll space, offered a rare treat for the early birds that flocked to see Hollis Brown perform. Renowned alternative-country and folk-twang singer/songwriter, Don DiLego, followed putting on a spectacular show that drove audiences away from the cold Lower East Side and into a raw-boned saloon in middle-america - bringing bourbon, old tales and lost loves to mind. His mastery of the genre harnesses a melodious craft of fine-tuned musical skill, truly making Don DeLego one of the leading emerging artists to come out of the indie-rock and alternative country space.
As curators of classic rock, Hollis Brown is spearheading the modern rock & roll movement in a city that thirsts for an American-born sound. Their ambition to combine both classic and contemporary rock is a catalyst of their own music individuality that has garnished not only a revival in the genre, but a dedicated fan-base that seeks good-old fashioned rock & roll. Make sure to not miss your opportunity to see this incredible band perform live during their residency at Berlin NYC before it's too late.