Live Music

Bottled Up at the Mercury Lounge

Bottled Up

Mercury Lounge, NYC

June 17th 2022

by R. Payne

Although you probably haven’t heard of them yet, Bottled Up is batting above their weight for a relatively unknown band from the Washington D.C. and Los Angeles area.

The group is touring their sophomore release, Grand Bizarre, which is available on streaming services and available for purchase on Bandcamp and at their tour dates. If you have heard their music, it was probably the record’s lead single “Italo Love.”

The band brought a refreshing breath of life into a scene that is seemingly dominated by bands with relaxed chorus-soaked tunes. Bottled Up brought a tight and up-tempo combination of the off-kilter funk of the Talking Heads and the woozy tunefulness of Blondie to the legendary rock venue Mercury Lounge

The record lists seven performers but concert attendees should expect to see five with front man Nikhil Rao leading the charge. Although most of the band appears to contribute to the vocal responsibilities here and there, new listeners should anticipate hearing mostly Rao and Ms. Chloe M. splitting the melodic duties.

While nascent listeners may come to the show for the saxophone stylings of a Mr. Graham Robertson or the New Wave grooves of drummer Rohit Rao and bassist Colin Kelly they should also expect to be pleasantly surprised by the electric vocal chemistry of Nikhil Rao and Chloe M.

Although I came expecting a quality performance, this reviewer was still pleasantly surprised by the genuine fun the two had riffing through their sophomore project. In a way, they seemed to have been channeling not only the “vertigo-inducing, crazy making stuff” of the 1980’s, as the band describes it, but also the strange and playful energy of the New Wave movement.

The band describes their music as being familiar to the terminally “logged-on and the attention-addled” and while this may be true it also seems to be for those who are looking for a refreshingly organic shot of clever percussive wordplay and organic bubbling superfluidity.

In short, it’s well worth the likely modest price of admission to see Bottled Up on tour this summer. For whatever price your local venue is charging you will likely not only be rewarded with a good show but also the bragging rights of being among the first few thousand fans of Bottled Up.

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