The Bravery has been called many things: the next big thing; the band to watch; another purveyor of this giant post-punk, '80s revival that defies the boundaries between rock and dance music. But in an industry in which today's next big thing fills tomorrow's clearance bin, this New York-based band is wisely ignoring its own hype, the members instead choosing to do what they do best — play live. Fresh off the heels of a sold-out UK tour, this quintet set off across the U.S., playing everywhere from Washington, D.C., to Los Angeles and South by Southwest to San Francisco before returning home for two sold-out shows at the Bowery Ballroom in Manhattan.
Remix caught The Bravery in Boston, where it played Lansdowne Street's grimy rock box, Axis, on April 15. With lights dimmed, John Conway (keyboards), Anthony Burulcich (drums), Michael Zakarin (guitar) and Mike H. (bass) took the stage as an impatient crowd applauded their arrival. Lead singer Sam Endicott's vocals have been likened to those of legends like Robert Smith of The Cure and Vince Clarke (of Depeche Mode and Erasure fame) as well as relative newcomers like Julian Casablancas of The Strokes and Brandon Flowers of The Killers. But as Endicott swaggered onstage and launched into the first verse of “Unconditional,” it became quite obvious that the deep baritone in his voice is all his own.
During the next hour, The Bravery worked up a sweat, pausing only to down more beer and wish the crowd a “happy tax day.” The group's self-titled debut (Island, 2005) translates perfectly to the stage thanks to the raw energy Endicott employs. Layering Conway's catchy synth lines with vigorous guitar riffs courtesy of Zakarin, The Bravery succeeds in making danceable music that is bouncy enough for electronic-music fans and gritty enough for rock devotees. As they punctuated the room with a bass line that would make New Order's Peter Hook proud, the quintet unleashed its go-to single, “Honest Mistake,” a thrilling 1985-style romp that proves the band deserves every bit of hype it has generated.