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Imagine a band has driven hours through the night to cram their gigantic sign and gigantic sound into your tiny living room. They have never played in your town. They set up on a stage so small that their bass amp cannot fit on it. The bassist does not admit defeat. He plants his amp right next to your stage and dances on top of it all damn night until you're dancing too. The bass player.
But you were ready. You built a tiki bar and filled your floors with beach sand. You carried a pool and hot tubs to the stage. You came to party. Maybe you heard a couple soundcloud links, maybe you saw a couple photos. Something told you tonight was going to be different. By the end of the first set you were dancing your asses off, singing with a sweaty frontman to songs you had never heard. His glasses were fogged. By the end of the second set the drummer was standing behind his kit, the guitarist was sitting with his feet dangling off the stage almost touching you, and the sax player deftly squealed above it all.
this was your first bencoolen concert
The transition from 2015 to 2016 was a hectic time for Bencoolen. The rock and roll outfit found themselves ramping up from occasional local performances to touring the east coast, with a new lineup. With this solidified lineup, Bencoolen has evolved into a maximalist rock group featuring soaring vocals, stunning guitar work, and soulful saxophone lines. Together they have been hired as opening support for Big Something, Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band, Atlas Road Crew, the Mowgli’s, and Marcus King Band. Bencoolen has also picked up festival slots in NC, VA, and DE, headlined by a stop at Firefly Music Festival in 2017.
One No Depression writer described Bencoolen's live act as, “Everything I had hoped for. Their enthusiasm and energy filled the room as the crowd looked on, filling up the venue with a prominent and boisterous vibrancy.”
Their latest EP earned a rave review from Ethnocloud that stated, “’In Color’ is a delightful release that sheds inhibitions or molds that a young band is ‘expected’ to fulfill.”
Independent Artist Buzz said, “Bencoolen’s energy throughout the record is infectious. I feel like I am at a party right from the start… I can only imagine what the band sounds like live.”
Now it's 2017. Using their 2 EP’s as a backbone, founding members Paul Gregg (guitar, vocals) and Teddy Scott (guitar) look to build on the strengths of the newest members to road test new songs while continuing to hone their live performance. The pair grew up living opposite lives, with Paul splitting his childhood between the exciting energy of Singapore and New York and Teddy spending his in a quiet, Connecticut town. Somehow they ended up together at college in Washington DC, where they attended engineering school, won softball championships, and of course started a band.
Bencoolen is now touring in support of their recently released single, “Spotlight” which has already been featured in a Paste Magazine column and with Live Music Daily. The recording was built on a live room recording at Inner Ear studio in Virginia with legendary engineer Don Zientara. Don has recorded for a wide range of artists from the Foo Fighters to Fugazi.
*Shout out to University of Virginia for making this a true story
** Shout out to The Rival's Garrett Cottingham on coining "maximalist rock"