Evidently touring Europe for a month had an auspicious effect on Hollis Brown, who sold out Madrid and performed in front of 4,000 people in the Netherlands. Not too shabby for a bunch of boys from Queens, New York.
Marking their first New York performance since their trip overseas, Hollis Brown were welcomed by many of the same faces who have been watching them play for six years now. These fans know every song, lick for lick, and they don’t mind paying a cover at the door because they believe in the music. Having seen them a handful of times now, it was exciting to see them grow into such a talented band. Harmonies they have honed over the years seemed to grow a pair of balls overnight and even guitarist Jon Bonilla stepped into a new light taking lead vocals for a song.
At their farewell show back in May, it was obvious the band were tightening up, hardly needing to tune between songs. But now, none of that exists as unprecedented intros tiptoed into each composition. With a 21-song setlist, including an encore, Hollis Brown took on a more professional approach to their performances, a clear indication as to why they have recently gone on tour with both The Zombies and Heartless Bastards. In addition to their own material, the band set the night on fire with their tribute to Lou Reed, Hollis Brown Get Loaded, sounding like a bunch of musicians who don’t simply idolize their influences, but enhance the music that came before.
A few years ago, you could have thrown Hollis Brown in the same room as Deer Tick and J. Roddy Walston and the Business, but so much has happened in the years since. And though they now have international fans who are quick to claim the band as their own, Hollis Brown will first and foremost belong to New York.
– Melissa Caruso