In a venue fondly known for its Airborne Toxic Event history, The Bulls began their Monday night residency at The Satellite as part of GIRLSCHOOL, a female fronted residency for the month of August. Having seen The Bulls in Fullerton (and the technical snafus of that evening), they have certainly come a long way.
My fellow TATE fan and I were perched near Anna Bulbrook’s left, right in front of the bassist and drummer. So without a doubt, I can say they have a tight and powerful rhythm section. They opened with “Truly,” a song not yet available on digital outlets but which was available by purchasing a limited edition hard copy EP sold at the show. The drums were loud, the bass was beating in my chest, and the vocals floated above it all. It feels like a proclamation, a melancholy march.
Watching Anna confidently own the role of center stage is a treat; she carries a dreamy aura with her vocals and rhythm guitar, and it’s anchored by her bandmates and their strong sonic foundation. While the first half of the set found Anna playing rhythm guitar, she donned her viola for the second half.
“Come Unwound” was the centerpiece of the evening, and it unfolded gracefully; the sleigh bells punctuated the dreamy guitars and the vocals and viola dived into the wordless chorus. Seeing the audience gently swaying in time speaks to the connection with that particular song.
There were a few moments of Mikel-esque flitting to the band members for a potential set-list change, so the posted set list might not be entirely accurate as there’s yet to be a full catalog of Bulls music. That being said, a song to keep an ear out for is “Running Away.” It’s upbeat, minor key, and laced with viola in a way that kicks the mellow into high gear.
The other released single, “Small Problems,” is moody and Anna’s vocals shone brightly over the prowling bass line. They closed with “Rumors,” a steady track where our protagonist asks, “Is the rumor true?” It almost feels like the closing number to an 80’s John Hughes film, in a fantastic way.
The Bulls put on a good concert, and of course with more time and shows under their belt they will tighten up as an ensemble even more and I think be able to bring the audience in more on the journey.