Skaters have spent the last year building up a dedicated fan base who have been practically salivating in anticipation of the band’s debut full-length, Manhattan, so it was about time for this album release show to come around. The Bowery Ballroom slowly filled up with girls all clad in Skaters’ merchandise, leaning patiently on the edges of the stage in anticipation of the main act.
But first up were femmes fatales, Bad Girlfriend, who appeared on stage giggling casually. The foursome’s cool and sweet demeanors put Skaters in danger of not being the heartthrobs of the night. Their sound held a lot of surfy guitar licks and captivating hooks, and the vocals—alternating between deep, Nico-esque tones and more high-pitched, sugary ones—reinforced their ’60s femme image. They were a good choice for opener, acting as foils to the main show by oozing girly, west coast cool.
The So So Glos were on next, their entrance accompanied by the Wu Tang Clan’s “Bring Da Ruckus”—an ideal choice. They said a simple hello with “Yo, it’s good to be in the city,” and dove right into their raucous set. The Bowery Ballroom’s acoustics lent themselves perfectly to lead singer Alex Levine’s raking vocals, and the band’s general attitude on stage reeked of classic rock ‘n roll. They were absolutely thrashing, conjuring images of The Clash shows-that-once-were, and it seemed the crowd simply couldn’t keep up with their raw energy. “We’ve been all around the world preaching about how New York dances so much,” commented Levine at one point, “…we were just lying.” But within a couple of songs, and particularly when the band broke out the song “Black and Blue” from their eponymous 2013 album, onlookers became moshers. They certainly did an admirable job of warming up the audience.
By the time Skaters appeared on stage (they came on to the Ghostbusters’ theme song, obviously), the room was packed with the band’s supporters and friends. The crowd was strictly Manhattanite—a perfect setting for the album being celebrated—and the atmosphere was comfortable and intimate. The band opened with “Symptomatic,” the seventh track off their new record, and this time the crowd didn’t need to be coaxed into dancing.
About halfway through the set, the quintet broke into their popular single, “I Wanna Dance (But I Don’t Know How),” which was clearly the crowd favorite and instantly recognizable from its raunchy bassline. Skaters played at their leisure, even wishing a friend in the front row a happy birthday at one point, proving that the night was truly a family affair. Another highlight of the show was the band’s fairly true to form rendition of The Smiths’ “This Charming Man,” which was dedicated to another friend in the audience.
It was the best possible way to celebrate Skaters’ highly anticipated debut—a night as energetic and quintessentially New York City as the album itself.