Zac Clark, Rocker Tycoon

The Rogue Rock Writer, Half in the Bag, Submersed in the Scene

Archive for the ‘Ghost Train PR’ Category

Groove on Grove: Ben Franklin, Meet/Pause, Bad Parts

leave a comment »

“So yea watch the cussin’, fellas.” I tell Scott, Sean, Keith and Graeme of Meet/Pause. It’s their first Groove on Grove, I figure I might as well get that out of the way.

“So, Zac, I’m gonna pull you on stage and you can talk about what you have going on and introduce the bands and stuff.” Dancing Tony Susco, who runs the Groove on Grove events, tells me. A small amount of fear washes over me, because I really hadn’t prepared for this moment. He let me book the bands and help promote the event so naturally he’d want me to come up and be the center of attention for a part of the evening. I just hadn’t prepared.

Eddie Garza of Ben Franklin appears, “We’ll probably steer clear of ‘Teamwork.'” He refers to a B-side off the band’s latest release, The Urgency EP, which has glaring use of the F-bomb. It’s a family oriented event so they geared their set toward not pissing off potential new fans and tainting young ears.

My head is still spinning with thoughts of my impending speech as The Bad Parts are rocking out. Ska infused rock, trombones and all, the Bad Parts are James Burns (Guitar/Vocals), Chris Garcia (Drums/backup vocals), Charles Potenza (Bass) John Sequiera (Trombone/backup vocals) Rob Miranda (Trumpet/backup vocals) and Daniel Palmer (Alto Sax). The kids on the grass mat were tearing it up. There was a little guy in the crowd wearing a “Nevermind the Bullocks” Sex Pistols shirt that was putting the groove in Groove on Grove.

The Bad Parts finish and Tony intros me to the crowd I say a few words about the Brick City Sound Riot and talk up Meet/Pause then they begin playing. Like a doctor after a shot, Tony could tell I was a little nervous, but my first appearance went well, “That wasn’t so bad.” He smiles and moves to the front to get the crowd stirred up.

Meet/Pause is from New Brunswick. I met them a few months back and thought they had something unique going on. It was apparent that I was spot on, because after their first song there was a crowd of toddlers with balloon swords having a massive Jedi battle as they played. Watching from Backstage with the other members of Ben Franklin, you could tell Meet/Pause was digging the scene as well. The played through their EP “Cluster Cascade“. and threw in a few older tunes as well. After their set they were all smiles, GonG has this really positive effect on how bands see Jersey City.

Tony motioned me back onstage, I was feeling a lot more confident now. We talked about the burgeoning music scene here, and about Uncle Joe’s and the void it left in said scene. Then he asked me about Ben Franklin. If we weren’t pressed for time I could have told the crowd about Ben Franklin for hours. I know almost as much about the band as I do the historical figure, perhaps more.

Billy Gray (guitar,vocals) Sarah Tomek (Drums), Eddie Garza (bass, vocals) and Adam Copeland (guitar) are damn near family. Heavily involved in the music scene incredibly supportive, not to mention talented (and hey let’s throw in good looking while we’re at it) Ben Franklin is almost more of a force majeure than a rock band. That said, the crowd went bonkers for them.

I confess I haven’t been to Groove on Grove since they changed the location of the stage. I have to say I really like it. More room for the food trucks and vendors, and this set up, I believe, sort of forces folks to see the bands. I turned to the crowd at one point and realized the crowd was one of the largest I’d seen for these events. A line of folks from the PATH station just standing there watching the band. They finished out the set with “Tell Us How You Really Feel”, a personal favorite of mine off their LP Optimist, which is free at bandcamp . Tony called for the all too obvious encore and they busted out with Fren Banklin, the band’s signature battle cry. It’s about the fictional, and sometimes science fictional, exploits of their namesake. Everyone got into it.

After the show, I hunkered down over a few beers with Billy. We talked about the show, about movies and comics. He confessed, “I forgot my entire verse in Fren Banklin was not even close to kid friendly. I had to make it up on the fly as the event horizon of my part came up. It looked like I didn’t know the words.” We laughed I thought he did a fine job, though I did laugh at the times they had to switch words. I’m pretty sure only I noticed anything out of the ordinary, and I was too busy cackling to care.

Written by rockertycoon

September 8, 2011 at 9:32 am

Lucky 7 Valentine’s Prom w/ I am the Heat and Wyldlife

leave a comment »

DJ Leonard Smalls and I have the exact same problem.  It’s the same reason we listen to the radio when the TV is on.  Well, we like to party.  And that means we party a lot, so if we are gonna throw a party then it better be a humdinger!  He called me up and said, “Rocker Tycoon,  I need another band for my Valentine’s day party, got any ideas?”

I said, “Well who the hell is the headliner?  I’m not a damned psychic, you know!”

Smalls came back at me, “Wyldlife!”

I said, “Fucking Dave Feldman’s group of rioter’s?  Do you plan on razing the whole block or what?  I guess if you’re dead set on those knuckleheads I’ll step up to the plate and figure something out.  It’s gonna be a Lucky 7 shitshow kinda night, I suppose.”

Smalls commented, “So what your saying is: what we (Lucky7Tavern) lack in substance, we make up for in intensity?”

I agreed.

After conferring with Ghost Train PR’s Jen Schwartz, we decided I am the HEAT would be a perfect match.  Oh how utterly right we were!

Saturday Night 7:30 or so.  I rolled out to Lucky 7.  There were something like 6 people in the bar.  It’s a Saturday afternoon in Jersey City, that’s sort of normal.  I find a spot, check my equipment and saddle up to the bar.  I am The Heat rolls in a starts to set up.  Jen looks nervous.  “There’s no one here.”

I chuckle.  I’m not worried in the least.  Lucky’s is like the Jersey City Field of Dreams.  If you rock it, they will come.  When their set began I am the Heat started to play for maybe ten people.  But like roaches from the woodwork, everyone began to shuffle in once they heard music.

(There’s a want, I dare say NEED, for local music in this town.  No official venues and dozens of great bands.  I was talking a few days ago with someone about the Jersey City rock scene, she goes, “Oh, the rock scene here sucks.”

I freaked out! “You shut your blaspheming mouth right now!”  I explained that the scene is burgeoning, it’s ready to bust, there are a few places to play but no real venues.  Local government stifles local music with red tape, but much like the Spice, the rock must flow.  Many bars have become a haven for this scene, in the wake of Automata Chino, Lucky 7’s, Lampost and even O’Hara’s and Beer Garden have made a spot in their spaces for Live Music.  I’m not sure I got that point across to the girl, I was on a rant afterall and can’t be bothered to slowdown once I start pontificating, but hey, YOU get me at least.)

Soooo…. Ah People started packing in for I am The Heat.  Jameson Edwards (Guitar/Vox), Julius Myren (Guitar/Keys/Vox), Kevin Fey(Bass/Vox), Mike Horaz (Drums) are not strangers to the blog.  I caught them on Halloween two years ago, the first thing I noticed was how incredibly catchy their brand of Indie Powerpop was.  Insanely danceable and totally lighthearted…just fun rock music!  It’s been about a year and a half knowing these fellas in passing.  In the last month I’ve spent a good amount of time hanging out with these guys.  They’ve made a mistake… THE MISTAKE.  You ever see Almost Famous?  NEVER make friends with the rock journalist!  I’ve committed the same reverse sin (Made friends with a rock band), so fuck it!  They plowed through their set list and ended to a very high energy packed house.  I actually had trouble getting through the crowd to get pictures of the band.

Wyldlife took over after.  And what I thought was a pretty packed dive bar doubled in capacity.  It was like when the Grinch’s heart grew!  Except there was a dude with crazy hair screaming and the whole bar was a tempest of sweat and limbs!  Dave Feldman (Vocals)  Sam Allen  (Guitar) Spencer Alexander (Bass) Rusty Russ Barrnett (Drums) are Jersey City’s very own GlamPunk quartet!  Enthusiastic is an understatement… watching these guys perform is like Christmas when you’re five.  You think you’re gonna get that Fakor or maybe TrapJaw figure, then you see a CASTLE GREYSKULL sized box and it’s little-kid-bug-out-panic-happy-time!  That comes close.  There was moshing, dancing and even a little crowd surfing.  I’ve been to a lot of shows at Lucky 7 Tavern, but this was over 9000!  I Am The Heat was in the crowd mixing it up, Hell, most of Jersey City was there.  You were likely there, thats how good this show was… YOU ACTUALLY SHOWED UP!

After we cleaned Wyldlife up off the floor, DJ LEONARDSMALLS and Dangerous Dave (Feldman) kept it rocking all night.  The memories start to shift from vivid to vague at this point in the night.  Needless to say, the commotion continued til 3am.  I didn’t even have a date to the prom or a valentine… But after that show I couldn’t be bothered to care.

Vodpod videos no longer available.
LUCKY 7 Valentines Day Prom, posted with vodpod

Written by rockertycoon

March 4, 2011 at 9:00 am