Birds in the Boneyard: A New Twist on the Familiar
It’s a sleepy Sunday night on the Lower East Side, with people filtering in and out of Rockwood Music Hall. A small, yet devoted crowd gathers at Stage 1 while Mikey and Petey Condoleon tune up.
Birds in a Boneyard is an indie pop band hailing from Queens. The band consists of Mikey and Petey Condoleon and Teo Vanovski, a three-man band with charm, quirkiness and a deep love for music. The Birds have played all over NYC and the greater tri-state area, so another show at Rockwood Music Hall is all too familiar.
The band has recently signed to Stella’s Records – a Cleveland-based label with ties to Warner Music. They’ve had a hand in both of The Birds’ new singles, “I Still Believe” and “Monster,” with more music on the way, as well as more live shows. The band is a tight knit group: Petey and Mikey are brothers, as well as songwriters for The Birds.
Tonight, Birds in the Boneyard have old, 50’s style microphones set up as they roar into their set. You can hear The Beatles’ influence in the songs with their tight harmonies and catchy lyrics. The melody lines are versatile, jumping from high falsetto notes to scratchy rock-n-roll vocals. Mikey and Petey take turns as lead vocalist for each song, seamlessly passing the torch to one another.
With recent changes in their sound and brand, a new wave of fans has rolled into their streaming numbers and social media followers. “I Still Believe” was their renewed breakout single, with pop beats and moody melody lines stacked on the harmonies. But at Rockwood, it’s an indie rock anthem about chasing your dreams.
“It was a song that we had released prior, and [Stella’s Records] wanted our old fans and new fans to gain something from it,” said Mikey.
Anyone who knew the band before can get a new version of a song they loved, while new fans can indulge in the fresh sound.
The crowd cheers and raises their glasses after each song and the air feels relaxed and intimate, which is rare for The Birds, considering they have previously sold out shows at the Knitting Factory and can easily pack a room at Bowery Electric. Not only have their fans and past successes helped them get a ticket for a bright future, but have also granted them small doses of fame.
“I don’t know why, but sometimes, I’m in the city and people will take pictures! I don’t know who they are – and then they’ll send it to us. It doesn’t happen very often, but it happens – and we think ‘Oh my god, why do they think we’re someone big?’” Petey and Mikey both gush, talking over one another in disbelief.
Between flipping through photos on Instagram and checking out their music video for “I Still Believe,” you’ll notice the very thick, black rimmed glasses Petey seems to wear in every picture and video. Although they look like the 3D glasses you get at the movies, they actually serve Petey for a real reason: “I found them at a consignment shop, and I was so tired of wearing glasses where my lenses wouldn’t fit … once I found them I just leaned into it.” But after he found them, they became a statement piece for his look, on top of the fact that he is only seen wearing suits at their shows. “We both love the 40’s and the 50’s,” Mikey explains, “We love old things, antiques, but we also like to be in clothes that make us feel comfortable and like ourselves.”
Additionally, the band played their newest single, “Monster,” which was created as a result of a tumultuous and passionate relationship that Mikey once had. Every chorus feels like a release, and Mikey climbs on high falsetto notes and rips on the guitar. It’s a give and take between The Birds – they can all feel each others’ energies and breathe life into their songs when they’re playing live. You can feel it from across the room.
Just like with their first single, Birds in the Boneyard want fans to feel a little nostalgia, comfort and hope for the future. As they continue to hit the pavement playing more gigs this year, they look forward to new singles, new fans and a new horizon.
Keep up with Birds in the Boneyard now on Spotify and other streaming platforms.
Lead Image Credit: Vikram Pathak / Instagram