Looking for a little punk-rock nostalgia? Some frenetic, carefree energy? The B Boys have you covered. The Brooklyn-based group delivered their no-frills brand of rock to The Echo Thursday night, transporting the audience back in time to punk and new wave beats of the 1970’s and 80’s, while mixing in their own sense of cavalier goofiness.
Delivering a show bursting with youthful energy, they careened through numbers combining striking yet simple guitar riffs and hard-hitting drum beats (most tunes were off their newly released album Dada). In true punk-rock style, vocals were shouted more than truly sung. You couldn’t help but want to chant along to the often cheeky lyrics, feeling a tad anti-authoritarian as a result.
“Energy,” their peppy new single, opens with a pulsating drum beat accompanying a repeated guitar note, before blossoming into a chorus chant of “Cause you don’t know my, you don’t know my, you don’t know my way!” The live rendition was just as unapologetic and had the audience bobbing heads in approval. I’m not entirely sure who doesn’t know our way, or what our way even is…but I’m suddenly fully behind protecting it.
“Walking,” also off the new album, is a contender for next-favorite. The catchy chorus paired with repeated drum build-ups contrasts nicely with the lilting pace of the chord-driven verse. There’s a conversational sense to the vocal melody, as if the band was telling you about their day and just happened to throw some instrumentation behind it.
The group’s sound is stripped-down and clearly still raw. Part of this is likely by design, as they echo the punk style characterized by bare musical structures. Part may be that they are indeed in the earlier stages of their career and have that literal youth factor. Regardless of this, their style has a refreshing sense of “minimum viable groove”– snappy guitar lines compliment the stripped-down instrumentation and are just enough…not over-thought or over-produced.
Whether it’s a literal or figurative youthful energy, the band wears it well. Their raw edges are seen more distinctly in their live performance, but the unpolished style is part of what makes them so refreshing. They seemed to have a subdued sense of excitement, just glad to be there on stage, but also totally unconcerned with their image. When they first took the stage, they unabashedly ran through their vocal warm-ups (something most bands choose to do beforehand and out of earshot, given vocal warm-ups tend to sound nothing short of silly). Not these guys. They just jumped into it.
The B Boys have found a sweet spot, striking a refreshing balance between punk and rock. Their unpretentious excitement makes me want to dig up my old high-top Vans for a cruise around the block blasting their tunes loudly, and not giving a damn what anyone else thinks.