Albany-based punk band Prince Daddy and the Hyena blew the roof off Bottom Lounge (1375 W. Lake St.) April 23 with a 17-track set and a newfound confidence on stage.
The four-band bill started with California Cousins, who excelled at their most abrasive and most melodic. Mastering both extremes made their hardcore breakdowns heavier and the softer parts of songs even sweeter.
Insignificant Other followed, riling the crowd into a frenzy with an impeccable stage presence and even better music. “Insiggy,” as the quintet is affectionately called by fans, played as if they’d just activated “star power” in “Guitar Hero” for the entirety of their set.
Macseal took the stage to large cheers from the crowd, and for good reason. The members are virtuosos on their respective instruments, but instead of being overly technical, they’re able to make some of the grooviest pop songs this side of 4/4 timing.
Along with a small plastic dinosaur named Raymond or Fred — the crowd couldn’t decide when asked — the group finished off with their hit “Next To You” and sent the crowd into mayhem, at times singing louder than the sound system could carry the band’s vocals.
Overpowering even those cheers were the roar when Prince Daddy and the Hyena showed up.
It was chaos from the start, with a fan tossing a white inflatable unicorn across the top of the crowd while the band opened with “The Collector,” one of the heaviest songs from their most recent, self-titled album.
After catching his breath, singer and guitarist Kory Gregory thanked attendees for their enthusiasm with the new tracks.
“These songs are new and we’re far away from home,” Gregory said to the crowd, which had sung along to songs the group released just eight days prior. “So it really means a lot.”
Gregory couldn’t hold back excited laughter in the middle of “Shoelaces,” another single from their newest album, when the crowd took control of the vocals again.
While the night consisted of mostly new songs, the third was one of their oldest: “HIDDEN TRACK.” Playing the classic at breakneck speed, a pit of flailing arms opened up as they led into their next few songs.
“Whenever I’m freaking out, I keep the thought of the cast of Friends real close to my head / It’s not absurd to say that ten goddamn seasons would be the longest friendship I’d ever have / And if Ross and Rachel last, maybe this feeling too shall pass,” Gregory screamed out during the title track of the group’s debut album, “I Thought You Didn’t Even Like Leaving.”
One of the best songs of their set was “Curly Q.” The slower track triggered a sea of phone flashlights to be raised into the air with the inflatable unicorn returning to ride atop the waves.
The buildup and eventual drop into Gregory’s distorted guitar solo made the world feel like it was caving in around the stage. The emotion of the song was palpable and the venue’s temporary illumination died down as the crowd danced along with the end of the track.
“Lifе sprouts up like a leaf / Eyes glistеn from the greens and blues / Drift towards the royal hues / They called you Curly Q / They said I looked like you,” Gregory sang on the track, which he has said was written to his young nephew.
One of the most impressive feats of the night was the way Gregory and his band commanded the venue. In August 2019, the group took a smaller stage at Beat Kitchen (2100 W. Belmont Ave.) as part of a national tour supporting their sophomore album “Cosmic Thrill Seekers.”
The album itself is a masterpiece, and the quartet would have every right to act like rockstars. However, the prior show was — at times — a much more muted performance.
This was anything but. As he jumped around on stage ripping solos, Gregory felt more akin to his idols in Green Day than he did the rising punk star of years past.
The group ended the night with an encore after pleas for “one more song” drowned out the house music. “I Forgot To Take My Meds Today” found Gregory on the harsher side of his vocals and the crowd matched it, yelling the words right back at him one last time.
“Prince Daddy and the Hyena,” the third album from Prince Daddy and the Hyena, can be streamed on all major streaming services.