Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Montclair's Meatlocker Offer Punk Rage for the Under Aged

Saturday night I headed up Route 3 to Montclair's Meatlocker to see These Branches, Polyphony and Archie Alone to name just a few. During the week I got two invitations to the show and though I didn't see Archie Alone on the bill with the other bands. I was assured they would be playing. As I entered the club I was greeted by the shows booker and Archie Alone guitarist Cindy Ward. I really enjoyed the bands set in Clifton and thought it would be the perfect time to tell her. I guess I was talking to long because I began to get a mouthful from the Meatlocker's tough little door enforcer Ana. Cindy introduced me and I paid my way before she had any chance to draw blood. I really liked her tough girl attitude and swagger. It got to a point where I wasn't sure if I wanted to smack her in the head or kiss her. I decided instead not to risk any broken bones and headed downstairs.

Eli were the first band I caught. It was also my first hint that I had unknowingly entered a costume party. There were a group of young teenage girls dressed as if they were returning from a cast party for "The Great Gatsby". One of them managed to step on each of my feet as I stood by the wall. (You know what they say
"Big feet, Big ...) As the band began their set I immediately noticed the guitarist was wearing a Grateful Dead shirt. The plot thickened. I began to hope for candy and heavily spiked punch.
Eli's set was short, stationary and underwhelming. A cover of Nirvana's "Breed"
I was a little disappointed when at the end of their set the guitarist threw his guitar down .
I couldn't help but think, "I bet his parents paid a lot for that shit."

Christina the Astonishing 
Next up were Christina the Astonishing. As the band began setting up their gear the costume party theme got upped a few levels when the bands singer took the stage looking like he just got off tour with the Casualties. The Reagan Youth jean jacket patch immediately caught my attention. Being that he was so young, I couldn't help but wonder if he knew much about the bands legacy and tragic ending. Or if he just recently caught the newer version that's playing dress up these days. Quickly the band launched into their set. Their all out singer racing around like a crazed teen. Launching himself into the crowd, jumping off amps as he sang wild abandon. The really stupid part came when he struggled to pick up a cinderblock that sat behind the stage. Barely able to lift it above his waste, he launched into the crowd. Lucky for us it only landed about three inches beyond his feet. "Hit the gym kid." I laughed. Amongst their own songs the band did covers of Green Day's "Basket Case" and The Ramones "Blitzkrieg Bop". Regardless of any silliness and youthful hijinks on part of the band they were pretty damn good. It made me think of how I was once a fourteen year old punk. The truth is I wasn't cool enough to actually have a band.
Christina the Amazing took it up a notch.
Christina the Astonishing

Though I was quite disappointed having missed These Branches and Polyphony due to the fact that they played in some alternate show in an all to alternative room at the Meatcave.
I was really looking forward to seeing Archie Alone. I'd seen and heard the band for the very first time over at Clifton's Dingbatz a little over a week before and was thoroughly impressed with their set. See Review

While their set at Clifton's Dingbatz was certainly an eye opener for me. The bands Meatlocker performance was an absolute revelation.
Tony Mastrolia - Archie Alone
Continuing with the nights costume theme guitarist
Pete Lepore wore creepy skeleton makeup that reminded me of the dance scene from Karate Kid meets Heath Ledger's Joker role in Batman. However the unanimous winner of
"Best and most ridiculously sweaty costume would definitely have to go to
Archie Alone bassist
Tony Mastrolia's teletubbies suit. Wearing that suit was imaginative and ballsy to say the least. The mans tolerance for heat and for heat and discomfort should be taken to NASA for testing.

Archie Alone
The band describes themselves as melodic punk, an influence that can be found in Nicole Mesce's emotional vocal delivery. It's the guitar work of Cindy Ward and
Pete Lapore that really give the band a harder edge. Their set was was filled with an intense energy that took the entire show to another level. Giving it a sense of authenticity that I felt took things from a high school battle of the bands vibe to a gritty basement show feel. I found myself being transported to the days when I take the trek from Manhattan to some undisclosed basement show at John Hilt'z House (Born Against, Greyhouse drummer) or any random intimate basement setting. Seeing Archie Alone twice in such a short time span has been very rewarding.
Archie Alone

Aliens on the Wall
Aliens on the Wall followed continued the uplifting party vibe that seemed to be building with each band.
I really enjoyed the bands straight forward punk sound. Guttural vocals, an aggressive guitar and a rumbling rhythm section gave the band a cool edge I really liked. The bands sound was tight. They gave off a very positive energy. One which the crowd fed off. Their cover of The Killers
"Mr. Brightside" caught me by surprise considering it wasn't nearly as old as the others I heard during the show. I guess it could be attributed to both the bands taste and age. Regardless, it had everyone singing in unison.
Aliens on the Walls

By the time Aliens on the Wall were finished with their set. The Meatlocker
was in a celebratory mood I had never seen before.
That's when Cindy turned to me and told me how amazing the next band was.
Archie Alone's Cindy Ward with The Racer
It was one of those "Don't blink, you don't want to miss this." moments. Suddenly members of The Racer started to assemble the strage outfitted in full Cobra Kai (check Karate Kid) gear.
I kept thinking,
"Sweep the leg" "No mercy" and on and on. Then the music started and I got completely swept up in the frenetic energy of the music and the crowd. It was as if my feet were raised off the floor.
I wasn't caught up in something. I was a part of something. It was as if there were eight hundred people standing behind me. Each one sing, dancing and caught in whatever rapture I found myself caught up in. It was an amazing experience all around.
The Racer

A Boy Named John
Finishing the long night was
A Boy Named John.
The Parsipany five piece kept the uplift mofo party plan going just a little longer. Already exhausted from from a night of teenage angst I was more than ready to take my old ass home. Looking back I'm really glad I decided to say. The band played an excellent set of high energy pop rock that delivered just the right amount of energy to get home.
A Boy Named John

Thanks to Cindy for booking the show and being a great host. I had a great time.

Over and Out,
James Damion

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