pronoun entertains on a rooftop in Brooklyn
// Image credit Angela Eichhorst
Wind blowing through her hair on a rooftop somewhere in Brooklyn, pronoun admits to the crowd, “I took a break for a year and a half, for no particular reason.” With a post from the one-woman band’s Twitter account saying, “No one asked for a five song memoir from a 33 y/o queer business woman navigating her way through mental health and anxiety,” perhaps there is no better title to pronoun’s new pandemic EP than OMG I made it.
The trio onstage quickly gets fans rocking. pronoun, or as she is known offstage, Alyse Vellturo, is on guitar and lead vocals. She is accompanied by a drummer as well as a bassist who looks the spitting image of Freddie Mercury but, unfortunately as I am later told, is named Chris.
The three of them produce a surprising amount of sound. The two guitarists have clear communication, which is a delight to watch, and with some lovely use of pedals, pronoun's gorgeous waves of bedroom pop bubble over the stage.
Perhaps the songs are somewhat lacking in harmony; pronoun admits that there’s “nothing to start off an EP about death like a one chord song” in “SOUND THE ALARMS!!!1!”, however, the audience doesn’t seem to mind, instead admiring pronoun for her command of the stage, self-deprecating asides, and lyrics.
“Ladies and gentlemen,” she announces, “and especially those in between. Sound the alarm.”
The rooftop audience jumps up and down for “stay,” my personal favourite off pronoun’s 2019 album i’ll show you stronger. Vellturo started making music as pronoun in 2016 after spending years in the business side of the music industry. A graduate of Berklee College of Music who grew up in Boston, she’s now based in Brooklyn with OMG I made it being her third album release.
A lot of pronoun’s lyrics are about perseverance. Her song “I WANNA DIE BUT I CAN’T (CUZ I GOTTA KEEP LIVING)” starts with “Everybody’s moving on / Growing in their own way / No matter where I put myself / I’m always in the same place / Breathing down my own neck / Taking up too much space / Now I’m trying to cry in the bathroom / And figure out if I ever cared anyways.”
Read out on their own, pronoun’s lyrics are nothing short of depressing, but somehow in the context of her songs, they become inspiring. I left the evening feeling uplifted.
pronoun is also able to bring it down a notch. “Can you imagine getting dumped and building a career out of it?,” she says to begin off her song “a million other things” from her 2019 album. pronoun and quasi-Freddie Mercury sing the bridge “Come back baby, even if it hurts” with an icy brutality before a final big build.
At the end of the night, pronoun is gratuitous to the host of the evening, Elsewhere — where you can find $14 spicy mango margaritas — and the fans, who have come out to share an evening under the sailboat awning. It is unclear how many people are here for pronoun or for the first two acts that started the evening, Rén with the Mane and Highnoon. Whoever they came for, everyone is glad they came out tonight.
A tweet after the show from pronoun sums up a return after 16 months of lockdown. “I feel so much better mentally in every single thing I do lately after playing shows, going to shows, it’s unreal.”
//Angela Eichhorst '22 is a DJ for Record Hospital.