Photo by Honor M.
Friday night. December 10th. Last year. That's 2022. Night fell fast as I threaded my way through East Village streets to Webster Hall to catch The Bogmen.
I didn’t know of The Bogmen but quickly discovered that Billy Campion, Bill Ryan, Brendan Ryan, Mark Wike, P.J. O'Connor, and Clive Tucker founded the band in Huntington, Long Island, back in the early 90s. One of the biggest underground bands in New York, Arista Records signed them in ‘95. Their first record – Life Begins At 40 Million – was produced by Talking Heads member Jerry Harrison. Since then, they’ve gone on to release four more albums.
The Bogmen have been kicking out the jams for thirty years now, but their mad mix of pop, soul, and reggae, punk, and post-punk is as fresh as ever. They proved it the other night at Webster Hall in Manhattan. Newcomers to the group discovered what The Bogmen’s long-time fan base has known for years – they put on a damn fine show.
I walked into a hall crushed with legions of faithful fans drawn by the group's dynamic live act. Their sound is like no other – an offbeat, polyrhythmic rock groove and a night filled with catchy hooks and earworms that last through the weekend. Bill Campion’s vocals on a song like “Raga” are reminiscent of U2 – and his loopy-loosey, puckish dancing is joyful and charming.
The word exuberant immediately came to mind – as a vibrant flow of projections underscored the entire evening. In a roomful of pink, orange, purple, red, floating zebras and hearts, an animated iron horse, there are so-so many songs to love here. “When the Goddess Goes”, “Treasure Isle,” and on and on. The night was pure lightness, pure brightness, with pops of brass and color. Live brass carried the blend of notes to the back walls, resounding around the audience’s heads as we danced and swayed to the positive vibes.
As the act wound down, they played one of their biggest hits, "Suddenly", a pop masterpiece. Have a listen, and it’ll convince you why The Bogmen are epic.
The Bogmen - Suddenlyyoutu.be
While The Bogmen’s tunes may sound cheerful, there’s devilish storytelling, social commentary, poetic lyrics, and super-smart commentary about what burns true. And what it means to be human today.They’ve just finished recording their first album in over a decade, it will release in 2023. We heard a taste – nay, a smorgasbord – at Webster Hall. And lemme tell you, folks . . . you’ll want this in your ears.