Detroit’s Prussia Stops Off at Brooklyn Bowl

Prussia_Guitarist

Detroit indie rock group Prussia has been getting a lot of attention recently, not the least from BestNewBands.com. Our very own Daniel Kohn interviewed lead singer Ryan Spencer back in January. They’re currently on tour, and stopped of at Brooklyn Bowl for a Wednesday night set.

The musical offerings at Brooklyn Bowl were slim; Prussia was the only band of the night. In fact, music wasn’t really the focus of the night. As I mentioned in my Via Audio show review, Brooklyn Bowl suffers as a venue due to its other attractions. The restaurant, bowling alleys, and giant T.V. screens on the walls (last night showing Planet Earth episodes and the original Star Wars) make the stage only one center of attention, and not always a convincing one. The noise makes it difficult to hear the quieter moments in any band’s set, and most people in the building have only a passing interest in the music. Which is fine, really. After all, the place is called Brooklyn Bowl, not Brooklyn Music. I’m just not sure why it’s such a sought-out venue.

Brooklyn_Bowl_Planet_Earth

Planet Earth at Brooklyn Bowl

Despite the sound problems, Prussia played a fun, tight set. Their music is a mixture of memorable melodic hooks, thumping bass lines, and tribal drum beats. Every song is groovy, danceable, and immediately infectious. Because of the space, it was often impossible to hear the anything in the mid-range, so the melody and the bass came out even more by comparison. Unfortunately, Prussia’s slower songs felt plodding and repetitive, since the guitar lines and synth gestures that give their music its specific character couldn’t be heard. Perhaps as a result, Prussia was at its best when they played thick, layered textures, especially with vocal harmonies. There were some really great call-and-response moments, and a  cover of  “Monkey Gone to Heaven” that would have made The Pixies proud.

Prussia_Singer

Singer Ryan Spencer is a gawky guy, and flailed around the stage endearingly the entire set. This made his vulgar, forceful lyrics that much more surprising – and enjoyable.  Sex was one main topic, as was the awkward aftermath of sex. More than anything else last night, the lyrics made me listen in to what was happening, and gave me an appreciation for the unflinching nature of the band. Any example I could give would be unprintable, so you’ll just have to listen to their music yourself to see what I mean.

It was a short night at Brooklyn Bowl, and probably not the best place to get a good feel for what Prussia’s all about. Luckily for the New Yorkers out there they’ll be coming back to the city soon! You can check them out at Cake Shop (my favorite!) on Sunday, April 3rd, or Death By Audio on April 4th. This is part of a big East Coast tour, so if you live anywhere in the area, check out their myspace page to see if they’re showing up at a venue nearby.