When thinking of Fayetteville Street in Raleigh, North Carolina, the last thing you likely picture is an unbelievable rock show. Yet, on Thursday, May 3, that’s exactly what you could find if you found yourself standing in the crowd at Kings nightclub.
It was here that a crowd of blue jeans, great haircuts and large smiles awaited the arrival of Charly Bliss. Though the crowd was surprisingly small, they were rowdy in all of the right ways. They had come to dance along to some of their favorite music, and they were not to be disappointed by the unbelievable show which followed.
The night began with Oklahoma natives, Skating Polly. It wouldn’t feel right to call the three-person ensemble an ‘opener’, as they immediately dove into one of the best live punk shows I have ever seen.
The performance was explosive. Not only did the bassist wail on a three string, but the entire band swapped instruments several times throughout the show, amping up their performance with every new song. Every member of the band was electric, and they had come to Kings for a purpose; to show the world exactly who Skating Polly was.
Once they had finished their nearly forty minute set, the only thing anyone in the crowd seemed to be able to say, was “wow.” With every power chord, punchy lyric and face-melting bass line, Skating Polly had made it obvious that they were a name to remember.
Next to the stage was the headliner, Charly Bliss.
Though i’ve been a fan of Charly Bliss since the release of their 2017 album ‘Guppy’, I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect from the show. Yet as they walked onstage, the entire band clad in Doc Martens and smiles, it was obvious that they had come to put on one hell of a show.
Charly Bliss opened with ‘Westermarck’, one of the softer songs on the album, which immediately melted into ‘Urge to Purge’. It was after this that the band announced that $1 from every ticket purchase went to Planned Parenthood, an announcement which was met by a screaming room of fans.
From there, they played a mix of new songs, and hits from their album ‘Guppy’. With every song screamed back to the band by the fans, the performance became more and more energetic. The band moved around the stage, kicking and jumping and dancing along to the music they had lovingly created, somehow never missing a beat or a note.
Charly Bliss is one of those bands where it seems obvious that they were born to perform. They seemed to really enjoy everything about putting on a rock show, as they danced around the stage, shredded every note and thanked the audience repeatedly for their support.
By the final song ‘Glitter’, the room was drenched in sweat and beer from the crowd jumping and singing along. Yet, as the final chord was struck and the band took their leave, the crowd had not had enough, immediately demanding an encore, which the band quickly obliged.
I don’t believe it’s hyperbole to say that the encore of ‘Totalizer’ was the best performance of the night. Lead vocalist Eva Hendricks came out with no guitar, and completely destroyed the stage with a mesmerizing performance. The rest of the band followed suit, with guitarist Sam Hendricks and bassist Dan Shure dancing along, still somehow keeping up with backup vocals and visual stunts the entire time.
The encore was over far too soon, and I have not been able to solely listen to the song off of the album since.
The distortion and fuzz of the guitars with the high-pitched lead vocals sounded even better in person, and the raw energy of the show brought to mind the feeling of Riot Grrrl era bands such as Sleater-Kinney and Veruca Salt. Perhaps this isn’t particularly surprising, considering they’ve rightfully opened for both within the last few years.
Though their style is reminiscent of such iconic bands, the style of Charly Bliss remains entirely unique. They’ve combined the power and distortion of punk, with poppy lyrics and vocals, yet I would be hesitant to refer to them as pop-punk. Their style is entirely their own, and the crowd was eating it up.
Overall, the show was one of the best i’ve ever seen live. As I walked back to my car, tinnitus beginning to take its hold, I knew I had seen something completely unparalleled. Charly Bliss is one of those rare bands which are somehow even better in person, and if you consider yourself a fan (or even if you don’t), you would benefit from buying a ticket to the next show.