All American Friday with The Amboys, Mike Ferraro, and Jett Brando
This week I went to Caven Point to support the Jersey City Softball League’s Opening Day. The weather was perfect! It was a great day for all things American. Things like bar league softball, Budweiser and Rock N Roll. After a walk-off win for Lucky 7 Tavern, I went home showered up, took my gear and went out to IMAC for a little local rock music.
I walk in and Metropolis is playing on the big screen. This lends it self well with the rock going on. A great black and white pre-talkie, one of the precursor movies to science fiction as a genre. But if you’re spending time paying attention to the movies during the bands, don’t be surprised when I call you a dirty commie! The night started off with Mike Ferraro and the Young Republicans. Mike’s vocals and guitar coupled with Ralph Cappasso’s drums and backing vocals, have a cool vibe. If Tom Petty played guitar like Joey Santiago (of Pixies fame) you’d have Mike Ferraro. Ralph’s drums serve as a build-up to the guitar infused choruses. This band transcends any real comparison or genre category.
I have a feeling that was the intention of tonight’s line-up. Jett Brando is just as hard to put into a box as a rabid wet bobcat on amphetamines! Jett Brando is Jeremy Winter (guitar/vox) Pete Murphy (bass), Brian Doherty (drums) Eric Schnare (guitar). The band rocks out with all the cool of Chris Isaak and half the camp value of the Misfits. They have a late 60’s optimism commingled with an early 90’s dirge. It’s and interesting dichotomy.
For the sake of argument Nashville, Tennessee is now located in Asbury Park, just follow me here. In this alternate universe, Tiger Army plays guitar infused country-rock with Langhorn Slim on lead vocals. All this fiction in the fantasyland I’ve created for you leans on this: The band I’m describing is very real, and while not made up of members of the acts I mentioned, their sound is no less authentic. The Amboys are that band! CM Smith (Lead Vocals, guitars) Manny Castanon (Bass) Kissy Constantine (Background Vocals) Connor Effenberger (Drums) Kyle Waugh (Guitar). They have a Rattle and Hum vibe. I’ve never been much of a U2 fan, (mostly due to what I feel is an overactive involvement in world politics) but this is a sound I can really vote for. It’s homey and robust, CM and Kissy play off each other well. Connor and Manny root the band well but but take wing from time to time. Kyle’s guitar coupled with CM’s serve to pick up the pace and shift their sound out of neutral and right into cruise! And before I really felt like I had my fill of rock for the night, it had all dissolved. Maybe it was me, I was on edge from the softball game or the Budweisers, but I was a bit disappointed. The night ended prematurely for me. But then I guess when you’re rocking out, time really twists and spins a bit faster than you’d like.