See You In Hell With Retail, GRLwood & Gnarcissists

Dressed in my red leather mini skirt and a shirt reading “see you in hell,” the bouncer at Coney Island Baby winked, shot me with finger guns and asked, “I’ll see you where?” and I screamed back, “in hell” while I left the building.  

Little did I know I was on my way to actually raise hell right down the street.

Niagara is a small bar that hosts shows in their tiny, mirrored back room. First timers at the bar probably didn’t expect a Monday show would result in flying bodies, guttural screams and bruised knees. That’s just the kind of chaos that broke out, though. Surprisingly, not even one mirror cracked.

My evening kicked off in the velvet-lined green room at Coney Island Baby, down the street from Niagara. After chugging a few beers, and sampling some of the night’s epic indie line up featuring bands like NYC’s Fletcher C. Johnson, High Waisted and Nashville’s Birdcloud, I hopped over to Niagara to switch into punk mode.

I got to Niagara right before Gnarcissists took the stage. The small room was packed shoulder-to-shoulder and drenched in colorful lights. The second these five misfits started playing, the room turned into a tornado of bodies and hair flips. It truly is impossible not to throw your body around and work some aggression out when Gnarcissists plays. It’s a beautiful thing.

When Kentucky punk rock duo GRLwood came on, I made sure to get up front, directly in the splash zone (the drummer tossed water on me when they started to play “Wet”). Though the line up was one thousand percent amazing, I’ve gotta be honest and say I went to this show specifically to catch this band. They released their debut LP a few months ago and its combination of screaming power pop and gritty punk rock just feels so right. Their live show was an entirely different experience.

Punk venues aren’t known for their great sound systems, but hearing GRLwood made me think otherwise. The frontwoman would easily switch from angelic howls to threatening shrieks with songs about being your dad or just saying “you make me wet” over and over again in a bodysuit that looked like a hairy man’s chest and it was amazing.

The night ended with NYC punkers Retail, which meant no one was safe. You remember Disney’s Pocahontas singing about painting with all the colors of the wind? Well, Retail plays music with all the force of the wind. The frontman thrashes his sweaty body into the ground while everyone jumps on top of him and he roars about dying or being dead. Bodies were flying around, punches were being thrown, Gnarcissists’ bassist even hung off the sprinkler system on the ceiling for half a song. By the end of it everyone was sweaty and probably in a lot of pain, but happily so.

The night ended with everyone dancing for Niagara’s usual Monday party called Maneater Monday, run and DJ’d by The Advertisers‘ firecracker frontwoman Acacia, and later continued on to shotgun beers at Welcome To The Johnson’s down the street.

Did I mosh my little heart out? You better believe it. Did I break a foot? I’m hoping for no, but it sure isn’t looking good. Would I do it all over again? Hell yes.