December 30, 2015 The Bogmen Return Home The Paramount Huntington, NY 12-19-15 w/ Indaculture, NY Lights
It is not often an artist has the opportunity to play a major venue right in their hometown, but that is just what Rock band known as The Bogmen were recently able to do. Originally formed in 1993 in Huntington, NY, they were signed to Arista Records in 1995, released two albums – Life Begins At 40 Million then Closed Caption Radio – but in 1999, they decided to disband due to falling short of mainstream success. Over the years, they remained in contact and would perform on occasion to dedicated fans. Furthermore, they released a live album in 2001, entitled Love At Irving Plaza, after doing a charity show on behalf of the September 11th attacks; reportedly a very tough show for them as band member Brendan Ryan lost his wife during the attacks. After much anticipation, in 2010 they released a long awaited EP of four songs, Lookin’ For Heaven In The Barrio, and since, The Bogmen have been heard from here and there.
Then something special happened on Saturday, December 19th, when The Paramount welcomed back The Bogmen for their “Home For The Holidays” show. This was their second appearance for them at the venue this year after their benefit show back in May. With The Paramount’s marquee dressed with a festive Christmas Tree on top of it and the inside of the venue decked out with holiday lights throughout, the stage was festive as well with a draping of thick red tinsel as the backdrop and small red and green lights projected as the show was about to begin.
The first act to take the stage was the band calling themselves Indaculture. Based in Rockaway, Queens, NY, this six-piece female-fronted band is led by Jenna Baker. They also brought with them an artist who did a painting on canvas on stage while they played. Excited to perform, they pumped out upbeat Indie Rock songs to a small, but enthusiastic audience. While singing one of their originals, “Jerry’s Got A Bus,” a group of female audience members started dancing to the beat and kept on dancing through the rest of their show. Playing about a ten song set, they concluded it with a holiday song, a more upbeat version of Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You.” A delightful opening, Indaculture is worth looking up.
The next act to take the stage was NY Lights. Being based right in Huntington, NY, they drew a larger audience who seemed to be rather familiar with their music. This five-piece Indie Rock band is Philip A. Jimenez (vocals/guitar), Dan Batista (lead guitar), Kathryn Froggatt (bass), Andrew Stein (keyboards), and Tom Batista (drums). Having recently released their debut album, Days Passed In Exile, in May of this year, they played mostly all originals such as “1/2 My Love” and “Carl Sagan.” They also did an amazing version of the cover song “Video Killed The Radio Star.” This grooving band had fans swaying to the music and the audience fed off of the energy that Jimenez was putting out as he moved around the stage and regularly interacted with his fellow bandmates. After completing their set to a cheering audience, Jimenez invited them to go to the merchandise booth for a meet and greet with the band.
The floor of the venue was slowly filling as the stage was being prepared for the main act. This being The Bogmen’s hometown, it was becoming similar to a huge family gathering. An audience member yells out, “Aunt Mary!” from across the floor, and a small crowd descended upon her. Another person says to a friend, “What have you been up to, I haven’t seen you in years!” and then a small group exchange hugs. Judging by the demographics of the fans, it was clearly family members of all ages and high school peers that made up a majority of the audience. Then there was also hardcore fans that absolutely love The Bogmen and come to their shows each time they play, which is not very often. Simply put, the general vibe was incredibly warm, joyous, and, in a half hours time, the stage was ready as the floor to the venue was completely packed.
As Billy Ryan (guitar), Brendan Ryan (keyboards), Mark Wike (bass), P.J. O’Connor (percussion), and Clive Tucker (drums) all took to their instruments, Billy Campion (vocals/guitar) blasted out in his festive plaid holiday suit to a roar of cheers. Grabbing his microphone, they immediately jumped into “The Doubter’s Glass,” from Life Begins At 40 Million, which got the audience going even more. Taking a quick moment to thank everyone for coming out, they swiftly went into the title track from Lookin’ For Heaven In The Barrio before “Raga,” where they were now joined by the horn section made up of Alicia Rau (Trumpet), Paula Henderson (Sax), and Dave Smoota Smith (Trombone). Excited by the music, a man standing in the front row right up against the stage lifted up young boy upon his shoulders and Campion reached out to the boy and shook his hand, then proceeded to shake several people’s hands before going into the Los Lobos song “When The Circus Comes To Town.” Not short on energy, Campion continued to frolic around on the stage to the beat of the songs, but took it up a notch as they performed “Blue Horse.”
Before playing the next song, “Light A Candle For Me,” Campion said, “I want to thank my Mom for my early Christmas present that I’m wearing right now!” As he smiled ear-to-ear he talked for a moment about how he was going to wear another outfit this evening, but his Mother did not feel that was festive enough, so off they went to find something more fitting. After playing “Oceans Apart,” they then went into another favorite off of Life Begins At 40 Million, “The Third Rail.” Then Campion steps to the edge of the stage to address the audience, stating, “We wanna” but that was all he was aloud to say as the audience was screaming so loudly you could not even hear him speak. After the volume of cheering came down just a bit, Campion continued, “We wanna thank you all so much! I feel very comfortable, we are here in Huntington. I graduated with a lot of you, we had such good times!” The cheering came up to full volume again as the band went into “Mad Larry,” the first song they did this evening off of Closed Caption Radio. Flailing about as he removed his suit jacket, at the end of the song he threw himself on the floor of the stage as the crowd howled and waved their hands in the air. Giving the band a standing ovation, the band followed with “Highway Of Shame” and a large group of male audience members began jumping up and down to the beat of the song.
Moving the set along, Billy Ryan sang the next song, “Girl Next Door,” one that was released on their 2001 live album Love At Irving Plaza. Then, Campion shared vocals with O’Connor on the very tribal track “The Cows Ain’t Coming Home Tonight,” where mid song they did a brief rendition of “Little Drummer Boy,” but returned to their original in closing. Campion came back to the microphone for the next song, a cover of a Talking Heads song, “This Must Be The Place,” which the audience cheered like crazy afterwards. He exclaims, “This is one of my favorite songs!” as the beginning of “Supervision” started to play, another cut from Lookin’ For Heaven In The Barrio. The next three songs they played were all from Life Begins At 40 Million, “Dr. Jerome”, “The Big Burn,” and the sing-along crowd pleaser “Suddenly.” Returning to Closed Caption Radio, they played “Mexico” and then closed out the set with “Yellar” before Campion humbly thanked the audience again as they all left the stage.
With the audience screaming the words “Encore, encore!,” after a brief intermission, The Bogmen returned to the stage. With a serious tone, they began the cover of the Christmas song “Fairy Tale Of New York,” starting this heartfelt rendition with a guest singer, Julia Haltigan, which brought the tempo and spirit of the song up. For the next song, Campion gave the microphone to O’Connor as they did a high energy version of Van Morrison’s song “Caravan” before closing out the evening with one final original song, “Englewood.” With an evening full of excitement and energy, both on stage and in the audience, it was time to say goodnight and bid farewell till the next time they all will get together again.
The Bogmen clearly have a brotherhood as a band and a fanbase that absolutely adore them. The energy simply poured off the stage and this band had all of the vigor and spunk, if not more, as they did in the mid 1990s. As stated, The Bogmen reunite occasionally for charity events and do an annual holiday performance each year in the New York City area. With no future shows booked, it is such a rare event to catch these guys live. So the next time the opportunity arises, definitely be sure to not miss it.