Alicia Bognanno, lead singer of Bully, is a manifestation of the spirit of 90’s grunge rock personified in a youthful and determined frontwoman. The voice of Courtney Love, the appeal of Cobain, and the studio proficiency of Steve Albini all seem to coalesce into Bognanno as a contemporary tour de force. Bully was on full display at Emo’s on Friday, December 8th, to an under-attended Austin crowd. However, the few that were present got a fiery performance from the Nashville-based quartet.

Touring on their second full-length album, Losing, Bully appeared to be much more prepared and energetic than past Austin visits. A stellar opening set from a similarly female-fronted alternative group, Smut, got the crowd primed for the banshee howls Bognanno would unleash on the crowd.

Bully’s aesthetic is understated but appropriate for their underdog type of rock. Opening with tracks from their new album Losing, like “Either Way” and “Brain Freeze”, would set the tone for the remainder of the set, which would explore their new album in its entirety. With a limited trove of songs to draw from for their set, Bully did well in engaging the crowd without unnecessary filler or reliance on playing cover songs.

Hits from the band’s first album, like “Trying” and “I Remember”, elicited the most raucous reaction from a buzzing crowd. Yet, Bognanno also seemed to turn on the charm, reciting Austin ‘fun facts’ and doing bits with the audience while tuning up between songs.

While the crowd was lacking in numbers, those present were enthusiastically engaged. Bully may not have tapped into a mainstream vein just yet, but their stellar live show and loyal fan base are harbingers of good fortune as these grunge-rockers go forward.

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