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Bilmuri Connects with Sold-Out Crowd at Neighborhood Theatre

Bilmuri performs at Neighborhood Theatre.
Bilmuri perform at Neighborhood Theatre. (Photo by Gregg McCraw)

Bilmuri are no stranger to Charlotte; in fact, they came through Amos’ Southend just six months ago. This time around on Sunday night, they completely sold out NoDa’s Neighborhood Theatre. No lack of demand here. 

Bilmuri is a project launched by Johnny Franck, former vocalist and guitarist of metalcore band Attack Attack!, who has said farewell to the metalcore sound of his past and leaned much harder into what can only be described as a unique mix of indie pop, post-hardcore, pop punk and metal with Bilmuri.

Franck’s band consists of a five piece: himself, saxophonist/vocalist Gabi Rose, guitarist Reese, bass player/keyboardist OBLVYN, and drummer Josh Manuel.

Bilmuri lent their drummer and guitar player to up-and-coming pop artist Knox, who opened the show and is also featured on the song “CORN FED YETIS” from Bilmuri’s latest album. Knox put on a most positive and uplifting pure pop set.

“This is like my tenth show of my life,” he said as he neared the end of his set, watching the sold-out crowd dancing along to his songs. “I don’t know what’s going on!”

With his amazing voice, unrelenting energy and pure enthusiasm, he may not know what’s going on, but Knox will go far.

Bilmuri tearing through an 18-song setlist in support of the new album GOBLIN HOURS. The album itself is still classic Bilmuri, building on the magical musical formula they’ve crafted over the years (driving guitars, screaming, musical breakdowns, saxophone solos). But GOBLIN HOURS also features a lot more lo-fi, dreamy synths and ’80s sounds.

Bilmuri performs at Neighborhood Theatre.
Bilmuri perform at Neighborhood Theatre. (Photo by Gregg McCraw)

In a bigger venue this time around, the band got to play more with their stage setup and lighting board than at Amos’ earlier this year. No song was outshone by the impressive color display, but the colorful back lighting certainly highlighted their amazing headbanging. 

The entire band was dripping with sweat as the night wore on, throwing their entire bodies and beings into raging — you know, in a positive, uplifting way. You could tell that, despite years of doing what they do, the fun of the performance isn’t lost on them.

They danced their way through the set, all of them engaging with the crowd, especially those who made it clear they knew every word. Franck especially couldn’t help but show his genuine love and appreciation for every minute on stage, ending most songs with “FUCK YEAH!” into the mic.

“I make these songs myself with a couple people in a basement, so it really means a lot to me (that you’re here),” Franck said with a grin halfway through the set.

He must have thanked the audience for allowing him to do what he does at least a half dozen times throughout the course of the 90-minute show. He loves his fans as much as they love him, and it’s clear. 

Bilmuri performs at Neighborhood Theatre.
Bilmuri performs at Neighborhood Theatre. (Photo by Gregg McCraw)

They retook the stage for one last sweeping song as their encore, ”Near,” which Franck made even more personal to the fans by literally crawling over the stage barrier to get into the crowd.

“Thank you!” he said as the fans closed ranks, the show over. “I’m too lazy to crawl back over, so I guess I’m just meeting all of you!”

No surprise: he and the band stuck around and did meet everyone who wanted to say hi. 

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