Growing up in Northern California during the mid-90s, Pulley’s “60 Cycle Hum” was just one of the many fun, catchy punk albums that I was introduced to by my friends. There were so many awesome punk bands to keep track of, I only listened to 60 Cycle Hum a few times and never really got super into them. They have had no mainstream success and they aren’t legends or pioneers in the same sense as say Bad Religion.
That being said I remembered Pulley’s tight, straight ahead melodic punk sound and Scott Radinsky’s distinctive vocals and I remember them being pretty damn good. So yeah, even though I hadn’t followed their career in the many years since my teens I was really looking forward to seeing their gig at Groezrock. I also thought it was pretty cool that Scott was a baseball player. I mean, the dude has his own baseball card! I met Scott (currently employed as a pitching coach for the Los Angeles Dodgers) briefly in the press tent before the show. He didn’t seem like a punk rocker to me at all. He acted exactly like a baseball manager, older now with lines of age under his eyes, easy going and spoke with a soft drawl. My impression of him completely changed when the band got on stage an hour later to a heart warming reception from the European crowd.
They opened with Darkside with Scott walking on stage with his arms raised to greet the cheering audience several moments into the extended intro on that Saturday afternoon. Now Scott had transformed to the quintessential skate punk vocalist, he had the look, body language and pipes. Him and his skilled, veteran band mates put on a smooth 45 minute no-nonsense performance that was rawer and more powerful than their recorded sound.
Their enthusiasm was infectious. I could sense they were humbled by the warm response from the crowd and were truly honored to be able to play at Groezrock. Unbeknownst to me, Pulley has built a cult following through the years as I was struck by how many European punks were into them. They were admired by everyone I mentioned them to at the festival and deservedly so. Their albums are solid, no frills, high quality slabs of melodic punk rock and they can elevate their game on stage. Pulley as a band are the prototypical skate punk band in terms of their sound and the individual members are low-key middle-aged guys with nine-to-five jobs and families.
Seeing Pulley perform turned out to be the highlight of my Groezrock weekend. The band for me has changed from a distant memory into a band whose discography I’ve been listening to non-stop since I got home from Belgium.
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