Zac Clark, Rocker Tycoon

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

Archive for the ‘I.M.A.C.’ Category

JCI: Live in JC: Any Day Parade, The Embracers and Black Wine at IM Automata Chino

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Written by rockertycoon

April 13, 2010 at 6:22 pm

Live in JC: Kagero and The One & Nines at Iron Monkey

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Written by rockertycoon

September 23, 2009 at 4:22 am

Movin and Shakin’ with Division of Planes And WJ & The Sweet Sacrifice

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“Motion creates Emotion!” I can’t claim that as my line. I got it from Ben Affleck, who got it from whoever wrote the movie Boiler Room….But the origins of that phrase are simply not important. Its a truth of the universe, if you move you’ll feel better. And There is a direct correlation between feeling good and rock music. I think it’s .87 (if you took Psych 101, you should chuckle, if you don’t chuckle, then you probably didn’t pay much attention). Right, I just went off on kind of a tangent…..sooo, OH YES! Saturday Night, I scuttled across town to see WJ and the Sweet Sacrifice. I was extremely worried that I would miss the show as I was getting out of work at 11, and WJSS was set to start up at 11. But, on my luck (which seems to be taking a turn for the positive as of late), they hadn’t started yet…..AND there was one more band left before they were to start!

I had spoken with Billy Alpha a few weeks prior about coming out for the show, he’s been really helping me out by telling people what I’m about, and that’s been opening up some doors for me. I was really looking forward to see them again since the last time was back in July of last year. Jersey City over the past few weeks has come to embrace me as their rock writer! It’s an exciting time to be a Rocker Tycoon! In fact, on that note, earlier this week Eric of Borosix (the cats behind the booking of shows for IMAC) reached out to me in appreciation for the pics and write-ups. That was mighty cool of him to do. Knowing that people give a damn about what I’m doing is half the reason I get out of bed in the morning!

Division of Planes was setting up I took a shot grabbed a beer checked my equipment and let the calm of not being at work rush over me like a warm shower. Saturday’s are long for me they start around 10am and don’t finish up til 11pm. It feels good to shake off the day with a little live music! I unclench my ass, relax for a second and then I realize I only have nine pics left on my memory card! Whats worse is because the other pics weren’t shot on my camera I can’t erase them. Remember what I was saying about good luck? Yep well that shite’s right out of the window. That’s not a whole lot of pics…But I’ve worked with less. Quality not quantity I just have to be in a little more controled. As I’m scrambling for some kind of answer, DOV gett into it.

From their very first song, Division of Planes were making use of their area! They sound like a chase scene and their body language was no different. The bassist (J. Johnson) is a one man mosh pit! The Drummer (Jonathan Johansen) is a methodical madman. Lead singer Guitarist (Tom Unish) has a rippingly catchy guitar and haunting voice! and the….wait thats it? There are only three guys in this band? It sure sounds like there’s a four or fifth member. Talk about going to 11! They played at 110% for all of their set then they were finished…. The ghosts of Sunny Day Real Estate, Boy Sets Fire and Mission of Burma look on in approval. I have seen the future, friends, and post punk is alive and well in Jersey City! After the show I picked up both of their albums and chatted it up with J. Johnson for a few minutes. Very approachable guy, more than friendly, and totally amped after his set! I haven’t seen any other shows listed on their page or myspace, hopefully they’ll update soon. I’m making a point to get out to see them again!

WJSS hit the stage like a jack rabbit on a date! WJ and the Sweet Sacrifice is William “Billy Alpha” Ferrera (guitar/vox) , Erin “Colossus of Rhodes” Conners(organ/guitar/vox), Mike Moebius (Bass) and tonight Thomas Barret of No Pasaran! was filling in as drummer for Ray James Hill. First Impression: I’m thinking I need a Cadillac, white ’89, a Deville. This is classic driving music! Not chase scene style driving music. No, the “get the fuck outta Dodge cuz your wanted by the law and your woman left you” driving music. The kind of music you play the drums on the dashboard and the bass on the steering wheel to. Route 80 twenty mph above the speed limit music! Billys pleas and groans cut right a river right into his guitar, Erin multitasks between songs going from guitars to the Rhodes, to tambourine and supplying backing vocals, the poor thing rocked out so hard you’d think she suffered a rock concussion. Mike Moebius pounded the bass in accent to Billy’s guitar, and even took a sidetrip or two for something a little more scenic! Thomas on the drums was a great substitute, you’d think he’d been playing with the Sweet Sacrifice for years. He put his nose to the grindstone, knuckled up and navigated right through the set into the encore! You can tell form the pictures there was both motion and emotion running wild during the set!

Billy and I talked for a few after the set. I asked him for an interview with the Band and Tom. They complied. I think we got something pretty special here… camera got turned on me for a second. Ignore the Hawaiian shirt, I was at a beach party. But before you go into that. I just wanted to say something about the local scene.

Things being as they are with a government in chaos and jobs going flat it’s nice to know that rock is flourishing here. I think we take it for granted up here that the local scene is as rich and significant as it is. Don’t get me wrong I love my country dearly, but it seems each time we turn a corner there’s more conniving and backhanded shady dealings going on. I say all that to say this: PROTECT YOUR SCENE! Politically speaking vote in your local elections. Jersey City’s in coming on May 12. Register for your town/ it’s not enough to just be registered in your state, if you live here, vote here! Few political concerns matter to me more than freedom of speech and the right to assemble. We need to hold those rights, the most sacred ones, on a pedestal! I think that’s something we can all agree on! I’ll step off my podium now. Please enjoy the videos and the interview!

Written by rockertycoon

April 13, 2009 at 6:58 am

One and the Nines’ and McMickle Bros.’ worlds collide at IMAC

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This Friday I once again ventured out to I.M.A.C. to see the One and the Nines and McMickle Bros. play. The day started as most Fridays do for me…….around noon with the remains of what would have been a hangover washed away with some pepto and a lil bit of Knob Creek, my mouth tasting like something the cat dragged in and a vague recollection of deeds of the prior night. Damn! I was working last night how did this happen? As my memory slowly decompressed in the worst way it can from a black out. I noticed two things. Less importantly, the first being a sandwich that had been half eaten (man, I have to clean my room today), much more importantly I have a notice on my calendar that the McMickle Bros. were going to be playing in town tonight! I have to tell you I get a lot more excited when a band is playing in Jersey City, while my traveling exploits make great stories to write about, taking the train is a pain in the ass way to travel.

Eight hours later, I’m slightly more sober (by the way as I’m writing this I’m knee deep into the start of what looks to become a very drunk Sunday afternoon) definitely a lot cleaner and my room is starting to shape up a bit. I called up my friend Missy (and by called, yes I mean text messaged. For some unknown reason my cell phone wasn’t using the voice or sound options) after a bit of back and forth and persuasion she agreed to meet me out.

I want to make an imperative point: I believe that bringing a friend to a show is not just vital for local music but essential to the very fiber of local music and the future of the music industry! It is especially important if we ever hope to be freed of monster corporate labels and the soulless music they produce. That said its a nice thing to do too!

I piddled around the house for a few more hours doing pretty much nothing in particular checked out the other bands playing and realized that the One and Nines were set to be there too! Awesome! Two bands I dig are playing! Suit up….Hmm it’s cold out again. Will spring ever come to Jersey City? I mean it’s cool to get all dressed up and wear all this wacky stuff, I have a lot of neat jackets, shoes and t-shirts. But all most folks get to see is the jackets because its SOOO FUCKING COLD OUT! So tonight its back to the classic T-shirt, Jeans, Track Jacket, Leather Jacket, Doc Martens and out the door I go. I took the walk over to I.M.A.C.

It’s 8:15 and the doors open at 8, so I assumed the bands would be warming up or something like that. It was much more like it’s something like that. Ghost Town: population Zac Clark, Rocker Tycoon! I sat down for a bit, grabbed a Budweiser and chilled out. Paracusia was setting up….(they were the first band). They started up, played a few songs the place started to fill in. By the end of their set there was a sizable crowd in the place and I wasn’t feeling like such a loner anymore. They finished up their final song. And this is the first time I’ve EVER seen this from a Non-Headlining band….THE CROWD WANTED MORE. “One More Song!” came a shout from the back! Soon the entire crowd was yelling it. What were they to do? Well, Of course they played another song! It really makes my heart warm up when the crowd has that much love for a band! After the show I got a chance to talk with a few of the guys from Paracusia. I asked them about the encore. They were just as surprised as I was, it was their first encore! Mark my words it won’t be their last! I shot a few of them and snagged some video for you to check out!

Took another Bud and Missy showed up. Next up was Kiwi the Child a side Project of the One and Nines’ Bassist (Alex Tyshkov) and Vocalist (Vera Sousa). My only question I’d asked myself upon first hearing about K.t.C. would have been, “With such a distinctive sounding band, why did you feel the need for a side project?” In my experience with bands the side project band is almost always a watered down version of the original band or some kind of in-joke or cover band. It’s obvious that sideshow buffoonery was about the last thing I could use to describe K.t.C.. TOTALLY DIFFERENT SOUND! If One and the Nines are Wilson Pickett meets Roy Orbison with the vocal style of Patty Labelle then Kiwi the Child is Bradley Nowell and Gwen Stefani (pre-solo career, of course) with the Wailers backing it all up. Actually HOLD IT! That’s not fair! Both of these bands have their own distinct sound, comparing them to other widely known acts is only one of two ways I know to give you a clue of what they sound like. The other much more complete way is for you to see their videos. That tells the real story. I can chatter all day and night about what I think a band sounds like or what their influences are but the real proof is in the pudding…… pudding brought to you via Youtube!

So after K.t.C.’s set The rest of the One and Nines stepped up to the plate. I had been so busy taking pictures and chatting with various bands that I had totally neglected my beer. Missy let me know, with a disapproving shake of the head as she ordered another. I was not to be out drank during a show, or out classed as it were. I took down my now hose water warm 12oz and promptly ordered another.

So as I was saying, The One and Nines were on! I’ve seen them play about 4-5 times now. Its a funny thing becoming a “music writer” does to you. You start to really listen to the bands and you really analyze what they sound like, the nuances of each song, what the bands trying to convey. I guess what I’m trying to say is the last few times I’ve hear them play I must not have been paying enough attention or maybe I was too shit-faced to realize. Fuck, these guys really bring it to the table. Vera channels this sort of Motown Diva Vibe that’s so genuine you wouldn’t think that sound could come out of a white girl. Will Hansen (Keys) busts out a sound that is some where between blues and western switching from piano to organ, and back again. Jeff Marino (guitar) strums and plays tangentially to Alex’s bass while they both support Vera vocally. Did I mention there was a sax player? Barami Waspe might as well been born with that brass in his mouth the way he made it whine! Ken Walz (drums) pounds out beats that work like a glue to hold it all together. The whole thing is rather genius to me. I have to admit I can barely play the guitar and my bass skills are rudimentary at the very best. So, when I see a band that really puts together the big picture so seamlessly, it gives me goosebumps! They finished up their set. Of Course the crowd wasn’t just gonna let them get away that easy! “ENCORE! PLAY ONE MORE!” With a veritable riot on their hands otherwise they really had no choice but to Rock out a little longer! Who was I to complain? NOBODY! (that’s right haters I beat you to it!)

So I guzzled down another beer, had a shot of Jameson and I settled in for The Headliners: The McMickle Brothers! Change gear really quick, reader! The One and the Nines as I said pulled together a styled polished sound with Six members all working together to create something that, while is complex, comes off unpretentious and very planned, sort of like a musical equivalent to 2001: A space Odyssey. Things like this can be achieved with a Six Shooter Band or with the Double Barrel variety, of which the McMickle Bros. are. Matt’s (vox, guitar) distinctive red mop top serves as a sort of trademark of the band. Sam (vox,Drums) although reserved and generally content to let Matt do the talking bursts with noise and charisma once the music starts up. I was almost too busy tapping my feet and bobbing my head to take pics and video of these cats. I certainly didn’t let that stop me though! As they finished up their last song Missy and I realized it was 1:15am! CRAZY! As the Romans say, “Tempus Fugit!” Of course The McMickles were called to play a final song! Matt announces to the crowd, “This isn’t our song, but it belongs to us now!” I’ll leave you in suspense to see that one! Whats Even Better Is they Are Playing Again this Tuesday at Lucky 7 Tavern in Jersey City! Its a Free show! You’re Losing money by not showing up!

After the show was over, we spoke with the owner of the venue, Steve. We discussed the local music scene in town and how great New Brunswick had been for it in the mid-nineties. Touched on topics like the Melody Bar and Matt Pinfield, and before I knew it was time to get going. What a kick-ass night! I hope you enjoy it half as much as I did collecting for you.

There’s a lot in store this coming week. I’m revamping my blog schedule, and maybe even bringing on a guest writer or two! The Rocker Tycoon is franchising!

Written by rockertycoon

March 15, 2009 at 7:03 pm

Honah Lee At the I.M.A.C.

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Last weekend I took the trip to Trenton to see Cryptkeeper Five. While I was there I met up with the fellas from Honah Lee. Due to time and my lack of ability to sleep in seedy train stations, I didn’t get a chance to catch them play. NO WORRIES FRIENDS! This week I caught back up with Honah Lee at I.M.A.C.(Iron Monkey Automata Chino) in Jersey city! That’s not where the Rocker Tycoon’s day began though!

Now, if we want to get technical (for the sake of being technical, I suppose we will) I was barbacking at 12am when friday actually started. The proper start of my day came the next day around 1pm, when the incessant ringing of my phone woke me from my ritual 12 hour friday slumber. Figuring it was my mom, who always assumes that if I don’t pick up the phone each time she calls that I’m in a gutter somewhere, I guiltily searched my pants for the phone. (Note: My mom works in guilt-trips the way other artists work in oils or clay, it’s her true medium. I’m sure yours does as well.) However it turns out that it was my friend Steven. The text said, “The world will scream up and shout save us.” Oh that’s right! I think to myself as my phone goes off, again for Steven, “And I will say NO!” THE WATCHMEN MOVIE IS TODAY! We make plans to go see it at 3:30pm. I shower, shave, charge batteries, clean lenses, Y’know the normal stuff you do at 2pm when you wake up. I head off to the theatre, watch the Watchmen and check the time: 6:30pm. I walk back to downtown Jersey City, hit my place, grabbed my gear and right back out the I.M.A.C.

Seems that I got there a bit early, Which was fine it gave me a chance to check out the place. IMAC opened about three months ago in Jersey City. They are one of the only venues in town that can have shows after 11pm. In a town that is very thirsty for a local music scene, or any music scene for that matter, it has become a beacon of hope for changes soon to come. The stage is slightly raised from the floor. This is ideal in my opinion. You get to be close enough to the band without looking up their nostrils, which is important when you’re taking pictures. It also puts them just high enough to be seen by the folks in the rear. The bar sits next to the stage. During the show I found that they do a combination of bar and cocktail waitress service. Again ideal if you’re rocking out, they bring the drinks to you in a crowded bar. I have to say the bathroom situation was much to be desired though. There was only one and the line was always three deep. ProTip: I used the bathroom next door at Iron Monkey. I don’t know if this was kosher and I frankly couldn’t be bothered to give a damn. They own both buildings, I say its cool to use the john in either one.

Enough about the venue, it was adequate. After a bit of a look around and a few drinks at IM proper. I meet up with Honah Lee, and got this interview before the show. Right after the interview, we all decide its best to go in and have a few drinks before the set. Conversations happened and we really hit it off, talking about comics, music we dig, stuff like that. It was beyond question that theses lads had some serious concept.

First Crooked Looks went on. Crooked Looks is Rick Smith and Colin Schiller. Hard to really categorize this band. Dance Music for punks? or Punk Rock for dancers. I’m not sure but this is a fact. They had a serious energy! Dick’s Vocals and Colin’s backing vocal and drums drove the electronic support music into a real panic. Then they pulled it all together with Well Enough Alone, a song that was reminiscent of Chubby Checker’s Let’s Twist Again. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole thing twisted merry-go-round they created! I’ll be in touch with them soon for another much closer look.

After Crooked Looks finished up my new friends took the stage. Honah Lee is Tim (vox,guitar) Justin (lead guitar), Jim (bass) and Anthony (drums). They broke out with Sobored….So bored. Tim picked up the crowd with the plea “Take me somewhere…anywhere! Just as long as it’s not here!” Justin punctuated Jim’s Bass. And Anthony kept a solid beat that got me bobbin’ my head. I should note Anthony is definitely the band’s class clown. We discussed his love for West Highland Terriers and by love I mean fanaticism. While certainly not a direct quote he expressed how they were the ultimate breed of dog and that anyone who believed otherwise would suffer the consequences.

I think aside from hangin out and getting to know the band the real break through came just before their set when one of the guy received a phone call that confirmed a sober ride home. After this we all started drinking heavily. this trend continued until at least 3am for me. And I last remember seeing the band out all the way across town. Fellas if you’re reading this……i think i may need to buy another t-shirt……oh no I still have the last one. Some chick definitely made it unwearable! Good times were had by all, good times were had by all!

Written by rockertycoon

March 9, 2009 at 4:19 pm