Review by Angela Blasi
On February 9th, 2013 Maryland natives Ballyhoo! brought their eclectic mix of punk, pop, rock and reggae that refuses to be pigeon-holed into one genre to NYC’s Gramercy Theater. They’ve been associated with names such as 311 and The Dirty Heads, and earned some chops on the Van’s Warped Tour, giving them a well-deserved spot among some awesome infusions of rock and reggae.
As I stood in a crowd buzzing with friendly energy and the lingering scent of cannabis smoke, anticipation for the group gaining momentum and doing it themselves, grew. A feel-good band with a light heart and soul, Ballyhoo! engages their audience from start to finish, often feeling just as comfortable as listening in your own living room. Howi, Mista J, Blaze and Big D put on a great show, playing a variety of songs from their three albums; two of which were self-released. Musically, they were tight as a military band, possibly even sounding better live than some recorded versions. The guys have a great stage presence and really know how to engage the crowd, ensuring everyone can sing along even if it’s their first time seeing the band.
They kept banter short, unafraid to launch into the next song with charisma and confidence. In doing so, the crowd was entertained the whole set through; a sea of bodies could be seen from all angles moving and dancing along with the rhythms. I really admire their overall performance. Even though the music is what everyone has come for, the band offers a well-rounded experience. Despite the venue’s set up and size, Ballyhoo! effortlessly and cheerfully adapts, engaging their fans to be a proactive part of the show’s experience which guarantees a fun show no matter what night you get to see them.
Though it’s an understatement, fun really is one of the core elements of their live show. Never boring, it’s easy to tell the guys love what they do and want to share their passion, which keeps the fans moving from start to finish; eager to jump as high as they can each time they’re told to do so.
Overall, Ballyhoo! put on an unforgettable experience, even playing two new tracks to delight their New York listeners. None the less, older tracks like “Cerveza” and “Cali Girl” were noticeable crowd favorites. Easy to listen to, great to dance to and definitely music to take with you on a long trip or a cruise to the beach, Ballyhoo! did not disappoint and I recommend feasting your senses on all they have to offer as often as possible.