Cinco de Mikal at The Bowery Ballroom

May 6th, 2015

Mikal Cronin – The Bowery Ballroom – May 5, 2015

(Photo: Dan Rickershauser)

(Photo: Dan Rickershauser)

While many of you were out last night throwing back shots of tequila, downing Coronas on the one day of the year when drinking them seems like a good idea, Mikal Cronin and company were rocking out at The Bowery Ballroom, celebrating the release of his latest album, MCIII, the third installment of his self-titled trilogy. Some may know Cronin as the bassist in the Ty Segall Band, the power-pop yin to Segall’s hard-rocking yang. Cronin knows his hooks, he’s no stranger to delicious harmonies, but that doesn’t mean he steers clear of the grab-you-by-the-neck heavy rocking championed by Segall. There seems to be a moment in every Cronin song when the melody blasts off toward Rockville. It’s like someone flips a switch and things turn a little louder, but when the switch malfunctions, everything increases to maximum volume, leaving the band, the fans and Cronin with no choice but to rock the fuck out.

The show opener, “Turn Around,” the first track on MCIII, began melodic with a piano buildup to the raucous chorus, with Cronin shouting, “Turn around!” like a frantic plea, each time louder and more desperate. In “Apathy,” off his first album, the hard-rocking moment happened the second the band kicked in to join Cronin, like a sudden thunderstorm of distorted guitars, ratcheting things up as he sang, “I don’t want apathy, I don’t want empathy/ I don’t want everything, I don’t want anything.” Cronin’s an admittedly tepid frontman, but it’s these moments that wring out his charisma. And every song’s moment when the needle dipped into the red brought up the energy just a little higher.

As the show began, it felt like a normal New York City crowd, people with their arms crossed, belatedly putting away whatever they’d been checking out on their phones, slowly nodding their heads in rhythm. But by the set’s end, beer cups were everywhere, people were sweaty and everyone near them looked just as wide-eyed and about to tell their friends exactly how much the show kicked ass. Quite an accomplishment for a Tuesday evening, even more of one at the end of the night when that Cinco de Mayo buzz was starting to fade fast. Fortunately, the Mikal Cronin buzz is here to fill that void, mis amigos. —Dan Rickershauser | @D4nRicks