Carly Cosgrove played at the Palladium Upstairs along with Evil Felipe, Kicksie, and PHONY opening for Oso Oso– they set a high bar for the headliner to follow with their awesome set! In the interest of full disclosure, I feel I must be clear that Carly Cosgrove has been one of my top bands for the last 2 years and they are in constant rotation on my playlists. They started off on a fifth wave emo/DIY playlist I made for fun in 2021 and have made their way onto every playlist I have made since. I love everything about this band, how they can have such a complex sound with only 3 members, their unceasing energy, their quirky Nickelodeon themed naming conventions, and the masterful lyricism on display in their songs, even the band members themselves come across as down to earth people.
The band performed many of the songs on their debut album, See You in Chemistry, as well as a couple of old favorites for a crowd of a couple of hundred people. It was a full house for the Palladium Upstairs, an alternate venue at the Palladium in Worcester, where the stage is next to the bar in the venue’s usual entry way. The space utilizes an upstairs section of the venue which gives it a feel reminiscent to The Bronze, a seedy club in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer television show. It’s a space with endless possibilities. The bar is art deco themed, and the elevated stage has colorful lights that rotate through colors and patterns. This night part of the entertainment was a small band from Philadelphia that came prepared to rock.
Carly Cosgrove consists of Tyler Kramer on drums, Helen Barsz Sam on bass, and Lucas Naylor on guitar and singing. Each of them is a joy to watch while they perform with Helen bouncing around the stage doing kicks and circling with her bass, Tyler pounding away on the drums just fully into it, and Lucas with his foot occasionally up on an amp, wailing away on the guitar, and singing his heart out. There was the right amount of banter with Helen saying before the band performed Munck, “If you know the words to this song, let me fucking hear you!”
The show started with Sit ‘n’ Bounce, then progressed to Munck which began with a rousing battle cry from Lucas “Like hell I’m done!” before launching into the catchy tune with lyrics about being the biggest fan and dealing with anger by turning it into fear. It has the surprising wordplay “I’m tense in the face of tension, it puts me in suspension, I shut down and leave my town each time there’s tension mentioned” and is a real gem of a song with a great music video to go along with it. Next, they were on to a song from before See You in Chemistry era, Buttersock—a real classic. Then a new song that came out earlier this year, Don’t Lick the Swing Set. Freddie Benson was next; it starts off as a contemplative and picks up speed as it reaches the chorus. It was beautifully sung by Lucas. He hit all the contemplative notes and the emotional yelling.
The show wrapped with a rousing rendition of Not My Job where Lucas encouraged the crowd to sing the words “But if you ask me I’m fine” and motivated everyone to join along with “I wanna fucking hear you, Worcester!” to a song which contemplates “Do I take the blame for the times I shatter? If it ends the same do the means even matter?” It was a beautiful moment hearing the raised voices while the mini mosh pit of 4 or 5 people in front of the stage did their thing, alternating circling and dancing. The entire set was spirited, even during the slower songs, the audience still nodded their heads in time to the beat and sang along, seemingly knowing the words to every song. The only criticism I could possibly have was that the set was too short, but with a full bill I understand we can’t ask Carly Cosgrove to play every song in their repertoire. As it was, they left the crowd wanting more, which is a good position to be in. It was a special night and a great performance. Not long before they left the stage, Lucas made the heartfelt comment “the first time you play in a new city you never know what to expect–y’all brought it.” Carly Cosgrove brought it too.