Remember that song Holiday Road from the National Lampoon’s Vacation movies? Well everytime I get into a car to go to a show that song plays in my head. It makes for an interesting car ride. Sadly, I don’t even have that song on my ipod and most folks still don’t have hookups for iPods in their cars.
That’s all sort of besides the point though. I noticed that Ben Franklin was playing a show in my old home of New Brunswick at McCormick’s Pub. I had never actually been to McCormick’s and I’d heard it was shutting down so I thought to myself this is a perfect time to hitch a ride and check it out. (I normally move to a town just after the local scene spot closes down, New Brunswick was the Melody Bar, Uncle Joe’s in Jersey City and even Head Biter’s closed on rt 45 just before I turned 18. There’s nothing worse than that look of disappointment you get when people find out you never went to a scene spot, so I figure I’d circumvent that hideous mouth agape look forever and head down to NB.) After a quick inquiry on Facebook Eric Moeller of SpillPeak Media offered a ride. I met him in Hoboken and we hit the Bruns for rock, college pay priced drinks and grease truck sandwiches.
We entered McCormick’s Pub, which looks like any house I threw shows in town during the earlier part of the decade. Upon entrance, it pretty much looked like it. Basically, McCormicks is what would have happened to you house had your dad and mom never met. Bar in the front 15ft or so, then juke box and pool in the back. (The pool table moved to the side for the bands). Random paraphernalia of times past scattered about the place. Including but not upto a picture of Elvis left handed that Adam of Ben Franklin pointed out. After internet inquiry we surmised that it had to have been printed backwards. The only instance of Left and Elvis on the internet was that “Elvis LEFT the building.” We ordered our drinks and folks began to shuffle in as Civil Suits started up.
Pat Sigmund (Lead Guitar),Karthik Rao (Vocals / Keys / Guitar), Karan Nair (Bass / Vocals) and Ben Rose (Percussion) are native to New Brunswick. Like a Roadhouse Grunge band they had a good crowd of youngsters jamming out. I got a video and some pics. They were the first to play and thusly the first to take on the wrath of the owner. Who I think was just being an asshole for show. Something about clearing a way for the fire lane, hey I know what it’s like running a show in this town illegally, I can only imagine that legally the fuzz is that much harder on you. So I get his anal-retentiveness about everything. Billy Gray of Ben Franklin just laughed, “I think this is his thing.” I wasn’t sure but fuckit, I wasn’t playing what did I care?
Meet/Pause played second they had learned from the previous bands hazing and went directly into their set, noting the short time for each set. There was little banter and only a few stops for letting everyone know who they were. Scott Thompson (guitar, vox, keys) Graeme Gardner (drums, backing vox) Keith Laviola (guitar, keys) Sean Favre (bass, backing vox) make up this New Brunswick indie rock gang. They’ve been making their way around VFW’s and even up to NYC a few times kinda sounds like Devon Williams
fronting for Mars Volta. Check out the video!
Ben Franklin got up after a fair share of free liquor. If you’ve been reading the blog as of late, I’ve been borderline stalking these guys. That said, they can’t fucking get enough of me. or wait switch that reverse it! Self described gonzo rock, that’s a great visual. Billy “Dr. Teeth”
Gray (vox, guitar), Sarah “Animal”
Tomek (drums) Eddie “Sgt. Floyd Pepper
” Garza & Adam “Janice”
Copeland (I hope Sarah and Adam can take a joke) are Ben Franklin. Fresh from the release of their new E.P.: Urgency Killing Horse Records is putting these four to work! If you check out Had it Coming you can totally see that electric mayhem ensued!
Both Mike Sylvia of KHR and Eric Moeller talked up Nico Blues. I was introduced to Reed Adler (guitar) as I entered the Pub. These dudes have some balls! And a hell of a stage presence! The Owner got back on the mic for what I thought was another “hassle the band rant”, but nope instead he informed us that the ladies were looking to dance and that we oughta oblige them. This monologue took on a life of it’s very own as Nico Blues’ Nodded to each other and went into a birthday classic that I think was called “GET OFF THE MIC!” They went into Unprofessional a song that the chorus kinda mocked the owner on, “This is not for you.” Well played! I picked up some video of Weighed Options! Look to hear much more about The Nico Blues as I find out more.
After the show, Eric looked like he was gonna pass out from starvation. I suggested he hit PJ’s Grill! I haven’t had a Fat Knight in years. Suffice it to say. They are still just as tasty as ever. Cheesesteak, Mozzarella Sticks, Chicken Fingers and fries on a hero roll… that’s a meal any five year old can get behind. Sated, we made our way back to North Jersey. It was a good night for the rock scene, it appears it’s still alive in The Dirty Bruns!
BONUS: Ben Franklin debuted a Brand New Song: Modern Life (is the Pits). Rumors continue to fly around as to an upcoming LP… nothing solid is yet confirmed though.