Indie rock minimalist group Boyscott played to a crowded room in Ridgewood, Queens March 24 in what was their most “intimidating” set yet. In fact, band members flew in their parents and friends from Illinois and California for the quartet’s highly anticipated New York show.
“New York is scary; I’m just intimidated by it,” singer and guitarist Scott Hermo Jr., 24, said in an interview with WSN before the show. “I look up to so many artists that came out of New York […] I’ve been intimidated for a while, but now I’m finally starting to get comfortable and realize that everybody is just a person and we’re all trying to do the same thing.”
The frontman attributes his intimidation to how many good bands have made their name through the New York music scene, as well as the legendary spots — such as CBGB and Webster Hall — that call Manhattan home.
“I can’t wait until the end of tonight when I can be like, ‘Thank you, New York!’” Hermo said.
Hermo, who was raised in New Jersey and now lives in Connecticut, has almost always lived in the shadow of New York City. His indie rock project had humble beginnings, starting off as a solo project within the confines of his childhood bedroom. Once the frontman moved to college in Nashville, Tennessee, he was encouraged to find a rotating backing band and began to refine his sound.
Boyscott’s sound can be described as a delicate blend of echo-chamber pop, crisp acoustic guitar and summer camp nostalgia. Warm electric guitar licks mix gracefully with soft melodies and natural percussion sounds that are as soothing as they are sonically interesting.
With the addition of powerful hooks and poetic lyricism, it is not hard to see how the band has garnered upwards of 4 million streams on Spotify after the release of their debut album, “Goose Bumps,” in 2015.
Sunday’s show was the last of a 22-gig tour that spanned from Boston to Atlanta, including two dates at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas. Though the band played a variety of venues, Hermo notes his preference for house shows, as they tend to attract crowds of mixed ages.
“The energy is just so different,” Hermo said. “When we walk in and see the stages in some of these venues we were kind of bummed because we like being on the same level as the audience. Being elevated feels a lot scarier. People’s eyes are on you and you’re not with them in the experience.”
This is the first tour for which fans have come out in huddled masses, with audiences singing the band’s hits at the top of their lungs by the end of the night. To Hermo, it’s an experience that hasn’t quite sunk in yet.
“I can’t even describe it,” he said. “Once we get back to the car [after the show] it’s just confusion. We’re always in awe. We went from playing to no one a year ago in random cities, and now tons of people are coming out to the shows. It’s shocking.”
That night, scores of New York fans flooded the fluorescent backroom as Boyscott graced the stage. The band vivaciously performed fan-favorites such as “Embarrassingly Enough” and “Marco Polo,” thanking the growing crowd for their endless support.
They also played one song that remained unfamiliar to avid listeners, a track set to appear on their upcoming album due for an early 2020 release.
Bathed in fuschia lights, Hermo beamed as the set closed out with the band’s highest-charting track to date, “Nova Scotia 500.” To his delight, fans spewed back the echoing choruses of “oh-oh”s and hummed the signature guitar lick.
As promised, the frontman delivered a special closing remark as the final chord rang out.
With metal-hands poised in the air, Hermo proudly exclaimed: “Thank you, New York!”
A version of this article appeared in the Monday, April 1, 2019, print edition. Email Nicole Rosenthal at [email protected].