Pela’s record release show for Anytown Graffiti was packed with rabid fans hanging on each note and riding the storm of guitarist/singer Billy McCarthy’s highly-nuanced vocals, which turn from a coy whisper to a gutteral plea on a dime. His emotional performance, matched with the band’s heavy bass lines, scintillating guitars and tour-de-force drumming, made for a raw, intense set.

Though McCarthy tells the crowd that tonight’s release party was a long time coming (the band had scrapped the first version of the album and re-recorded the entire thing), it was well worth the wait. The band’s excitement was infectious, especially during songs like the anti-war crowd favorite “Cavalry”. Even if you’d never heard the band before, it would have been difficult not to have been caught up in the fray, especially when horn players took the stage for a triumphantly noisy encore. –MVW/photo by Tear-n Tan