– live review by Nick Galasso
Alyse Vellturo started her one-woman band known as Pronoun in 2016 simply as a way to chronicle some of her most recent life experiences. However, while it started as a personal project, Pronoun soon gained momentum, with an increased popularity that led to appearances in major festivals such as SWSX and Riot Fest over the next two years. 2019 has been Pronoun’s biggest year so far, with the release of her debut album I’ll Show You Stronger, and she’s on the road now more than ever, with multiple tours through the United States already, and a European tour on the horizon.
Pronoun’s latest tour – supporting pop punk act Real Friends – has been traveling all across the Northeast, and included a stop in the singer’s hometown in Brooklyn, with a show in the neighborhood of Greenpoint at the Brooklyn Bazaar. The venue has plenty to offer, including a restaurant, and private rooms for karaoke, with its ballroom on the top floor to house its musical guests.
The actual ballroom was fairly compact in size, though it was the perfect venue for Pronoun to perform. The stage was only slightly elevated, with nothing separating the performers from the audience, while its warm red and blue lighting set the tone of the show. There was a sense of intimacy as audiences were able to stand up close to hear Pronoun’s deeply confessional lyrics of bad breakups and other heartaches. It was the feel of a group of friends gathered together.
Pronoun’s set was in between opening act Keep Flying – a big-band ensemble with elements of both pop punk and ska punk – and the headlining Real Friends. Most of the night was filled with fists raised, headbanging, and circle pits galore. The crowd was enthusiastically jumping around, crowd surfing, and screaming the lyrics along with the other two bands, while cups were flying across the room after someone would chug their alcohol in a frenzy.
While Pronoun’s style wasn’t exactly in the same vein as the other two acts, there wasn’t any issue with keeping both the crowd’s attention and interest. There was a laid-back feel to the show that served as a nice break between the two wildly energetic bands. “Are you ready for your guilty pleasure of the night?” Vellturo giddily exclaimed as she took the stage in a white jump suit. She was joined on stage by her friends Eric on bass, and Steven on drums, who also had matching blue jump suits.
And she was certainly accurate with her assessment. Her set consisted of lo-fi pop tunes with an energy that evoked a meditative feel. The guitar riffs were simple, yet powerful, and often lingered in the air for a moment after being softly strummed. Despite the change in pace, the audience was still actively engaged, quietly dancing along the entire time with wide smiles, even though it was clear not everyone was as familiar with her work. This just goes to show how much power the self-proclaimed “teeny tiny” singer/songwriter has over a crowd.
It wasn’t always easy to decipher all the lyrics, as Vellturo’s humming-like vocals – sometimes delivered at just above a whisper – were dominated by the instrumentation, but it didn’t matter, as it was her passionate spirit that really captivated the audience. It was very easy to get lost in the music, especially during certain synth-heavy tracks that had this spacier, other-worldly feel to them, transcending the room.
Despite her songs revolving around such deeply personal subject matter, Vellturo wasn’t without a sense of humor, as she took the time in between most songs to crack jokes to the audience. She seemed well aware of who her audience was in this show and poked fun at the style of a typical pop punk show. “You guys ready to rock?” she exclaimed to wild applause, only to follow it with, “well too bad, because this is a slow one.” There was a sweetness to the way in which she was clearly having so much fun onstage.
Vellturo finished her set with “Run,” off her new album, which – like many of her other songs – was about a past relationship of hers, and it’s clear the subject matter meant a lot to her, as there was this underlying pain evident in her delivery. Ending on such a note serves as a reminder as to why Pronoun was started in the first place, as a means of simply being honest and vulnerable with an audience. Pronoun is sure to have quite a journey ahead of her, and it’s clear she wants us to come along for the ride, and I can’t wait to see what she has in store for us.