Saturday, December 31, 2011

Brick + Mortar and Cicada Radio Bring the Heat to Kearny Irish.

Joe Wilson and the Loose Ends
As the days grow shorter and the nights grow colder I find myself with less and less desire to go out to shows. A brand new heating system and a box of new records can start to look pretty cool when faced with the option to brave the elements and interact with people on an up close and personal. Yet with all the comforts of home and a very hungry cat looking at me as if I was a big bag of Meow Mix. Getting to see a couple of my favorite bands along with a couple of new ones felt like a pretty neat idea.

I hadn't been to Kearny Irish since July when I was there to see Night Birds and Municipal Waste. Since then it seems most of the shows that have taken place were of a strict Metal tip and after seeing Municipal Waste, well, let's just say I wasn't into the vibe. 
Truth is I really missed the place. It's a great venue with a really upbeat vibe. The drinks are cheap and the venues space is vast. 

Though the attendance was sparse, perhaps due to all the post holidays, pre New Year  shenanigans; I don't think you could have wished for a better gathering of people. As I made my way inside I was almost instantly greeted by the smiling faces of Mike Sylvia (Killing Horse Records) and 
Frank DeFranco (Holy City Zoo). As the night went on I got to spend more time with other members of the Tiny Giants Artist Collective. All while learning the secret handshake and getting the groups recipe for some of its future endeavors. 

The show promptly opened with Joe Wilson and the Loose Ends. Joe Wilson is a singer/songwriter with a style that is deeply rooted in his New Jersey upbringing. He and Loose Ends gave off a great vibe throughout their set. As I stood there listening intently.  I curiously asked, "Who is this?" "What's his name?". This was my first helping of the artist but the vibe was very warm and familiar. I had noticed a pile of his CD's on the merch table earlier but by the time I made my way back there they were already gone. Check out his Facebook Page and give his music a listen. You just might like what you here.

The Vapor Apes
Things got pretty strange as The Vapor Apes took the stage. Nerdy, Goofy and more fun than a dildo at a nunnery, the band is a cross between Devo, Digital Underground and early Beastie Boys. Though this was only their second show they had their shit down pat. The Apes mix guitar, bass , drums with computer technology with excellent results. Songs like "Computer", "Girls Say" and "I'm checkin' Out" were highlights. Here is a band that is not only entertaining but can back it up with excellent music skills.  Major respect to the bands guitarist for just bringing things to another level.
Happy Birthday to the bands bassist Paul Beier. I'm happy he got a chance to celebrate it with a stellar set.
 Go Ape Shit

Cicada Radio
Next up was Cicada Radio. Here is a band that I've found to be somewhat elusive. Since the release of the bands debut "Imposter" I've been searching the landscape to find a hard copy; only to find months later that it was a digital only release. I had the digital version all along having listened to it countless times. As good as it was you couldn't blame me for wanting to wrap my hands around a hard copy.
The band has also played a handful of shows that I unfortunately missed out on. Needless to say I was finally in the same building with these guys and was going to thoroughly enjoy every note. As the bad kicked into gear I turned off the flash on my camera as to not disturb the strange ritual that was unfolding before my eyes and ears. In theory I wanted to capture singer guitarist Pat O'Keefe's warrior soul within the working of my Canon 7D. As good a record  "Imposter" is, to see the band perform live  takes thing to a totally different level. The band hails for parts Jersey City and Kearny and are not only on the stellar KillingHorse Records but they are also members of The Tiny Giants Artist Collective.
Be sure to check them out when they play KillingHorse Records 2 year anniversary at Maxwells on Friday, January 6th. It will surely be an amazing show.
Cicada Radio

Brick + Mortar
Last but certainly not least were Brick + Mortar. I've seen Brandon and John perform twice in recent weeks and both times I've left with a jaw dropping experience. If i could say anything about this dynamic duo, it is that Brick & Mortar are "Fucking Loud." Fusing live instruments, Brandon handles vocals, switches between guitar and bass all while playing with samples with the approach of a mad scientist. John's has a unique approach to drumming that includes bringing the bass drum in to the crowd. The appeal is that of a sonic apocalypse. One that will alert the senses and leave them satisfied and shell shocked. Brandon's interaction with the crowd is notable considering their reactions and response. The result is that of an arena sound with a intimate vibe. It's really inspiring when you see that level of involvement from an audience.
Brick + Mortar

It's always good to go out and see a diverse lineup of talent. Each band offered a fresh and appealing sound that never mirrored the other. I guess that no matter how cold it gets out there; A night out to see live music and good friends almost always wins against the option of staying home and . James Damion

Friday, December 30, 2011

U.B.R.S. Presents; The Very Best of 2011.

James and I decided that we would do a top ten lists for 2011 because we are super cool and know more about good music than you do (insert sarcasm). Dave G.

Well, Here is my 2011 best of list (Dave)…
  • Void - Sessions LP (Dischord)
  • Video - Leather Leather (Play Pinball Records)
  • Night Fever - New Blood (released in 09 but new to me in 11)
  • The Nolan Gate - Alchemy (self released)
  • Night Birds - The Other Side of Darkness (Grave Mistake)
  • Deep Sleep - Turn Me Off (Grave Mistake)
  • Dark Ages - Can America Survive ( Sorry State Records)
  • Omegas - Blasts of Lunacy ( Parts Unknown Records)
  • Iroha - "End of an Era" (2011) Denovali Records
  • Bad Influence - Wars No Fun 7" (reissue of 1983 demo on Who Cares Records)
  • New Breed Tape Compilation Lp - (Wardance Records) 
  • Double Negative - Hardcore Confusion Volume 1 and 2 - Sorry State Records 2011 
  • American Dream - s/t Lp - (America Records 1984 - new to me in 2011 - reissue coming in 2012) 
  • Foo Fighters - Wasting Light (good solid record all the way through - true professionals) 
  • Blessed Offal ( best unsolicted demo submitted for review on my blog) 
  • Bazillion Points Books for bringing us a steady stream of incredible books. 
  • Hot Snakes - Live @ Maxwells Hoboken NJ ( Reiss and Fork what else could I ask for) 
  • Chronic Sick Reissues on No Way Records - yeah they came out towards the end of 2010 but so what this is my list. 
  • Killing Horse Records and Dromedary Records for supporting our local bands and releasing some damn fine records in 2011.

    Label to soon celebrate its second anniversary.

Here's my shot at the title. James D.

Best releases of 2011

  • Night Birds - The Other Side of Darkness (Grave Mistake)
  • Double Negative - Hardcore Confusion Volume 1&2 (Sorry State Records)
  • Those Mockingbirds - Fa Sol La (Star Beat Music)
  • The Foo Fighters - Wasting Light (Nirvana who?)
  • The Horrible Crowes - Elsie (SideOneDummy Records)
  • ¡No Pasaran! - Porter in the Making (KillingHorse Records)
  • The 65's - Strike Hard (Dromedary Records)
  • Stuyvesant - Fret Sounds (Dromedary Records)
  • My Rifle - S/T EP (Wardance Records)
  • Invisible Lines - Wise Up (KillingHorse Records) (Released in 2010 but new to my ears.)
  • Rival Schools - Pedals (Photo Finish Records)
  • Holy City Zoo - S/T EP
  • Ben Franklin - Urgency (KillingHorse Records)
Strike Hard!


  • New Breed Tape Compilation LP - 2X LP (Wardance Records)
  • Void - Sessions (Dischord Records)
  • Faith - Subject to Change (Dischord Records)
  • Archers of Loaf - Icky Mettle (Merge Records)
  • Resurrection - I am Not Discography (Deathwish Records)

New Breed's 1989 tape comp. Re-issued on Vinyl 
  • The Rye Coalition at Maxwells 02/19/11
  • Seaweed at the Belle House 04/22/11
  • Night Birds @ Kearny Irish 07/21/11
  • Brick City Sound Riot Music Festival 09/16/11 - 09/18/11

The Rye Coalition at Brick City Sound Riot Music Fest 

  • The return of Wardance Records.
  • The support of labels such as Killing Horse, Dromedary and Wardance.
  • Working with Jim Testa and Jersey Beat.
  • The Rise of the Tiny Giants Artist Collective.
  • Double Decker Records (nuff said).

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Killing Horse Records Announces Two-Year Anniversary Show, Add The Nico Blues To Their Roster.

As most of you already know Killing Horse Records are good friends of ours.  They've worked with a lot of ours friends by supporting their bands, releasing their records and giving them a platform to further express themselves. The label is essential to the music we love and it has done more than its part to foster a sense of community and scene in this area. Its people like these that help us survive creatively. We highly suggest you look into the label and the bands on it. See you on the 14th. 
James Damion

Killing Horse Records is gearing up to celebrate their two year anniversary at Maxwell’s in Hoboken, New Jersey on Friday, January 6, 2012. Killing Horse will be showcasing their current active roster which includes Secret Country, No Pasaran, Invisible Lines, The Nico Blues and Cicada Radio. The label started by Mike Sylvia and Ryan Gross, two longtime friends, out of their apartment in Kearny, NJ has been gaining momentum in its first two years of existence, and has gained quite a reputation in the New Jersey DIY music scene for having a great ear for local talent. The show will be $10 and will start at 8:30pm. Maxwell’s is located at 1039 Washington Street, in Hoboken, NJ.

Adding to the excitement of the event, The Nico Blues, Killing Horse’s newest band will be celebrating the reissue of their debut album, Blame the Boredom, Blame the Basements.  The Nico Blues have been on the bands to watch list for many New Jersey bloggers and scene reporters and as the first press of their debut effort goes out of print, Killing Horse Records will be jumping right in to help with the support of the record, adding a lyric booklet to the packaging of the record. Filling out the bill will be Cicada Radio, Invisible Lines and No Pasaran. Headlining the event will be New Jersey’s favorite outlaws, Secret Country.

Killing Horse has a huge year planned.  They will be launching their new website, and for the first time will have t-shirts, hoodies and stickers for sale. On top of all that, the boys at Killing Horse records plan on releasing 4 to 5 records in 2012. “We’ve got the year planned out and are excited to kick it off with the 2 year anniversary show at Maxwell’s” says Co-founder Mike Sylvia. The show will be $10 and will start at 8:30 pm and will be all ages. Maxwell’s is located at 1039 Washington Ave, in Hoboken, NJ.

Killing Horse Records is an independent record label based out of New Jersey; Killing Horse boasts acts such as Secret Country, No Pasaran, The Nico Blues, Invisible Lines and Cicada Radio. For more information on Killing Horse, please go to

The 65's "Strike Hard" Record Release Party at Harp & Bard

Stuyvesant's Pete "The Killer" Martinez 
In celebration of the release of The 65's debut "Strike Hard" Dromedary Records Kingpin Al Crisifulli gathered some close and not too close friends Harp N' Bard to drink, enjoy some live music and drink, drink, drink. As I arrived the party was already in full swing. There were so many familiar and friendly faces you'd have thought I had walked onto the set of "Cheers". With they're highly anticipated and well recieved record in tow, family and friends in attendance, it was time to celebrate.
With Mr. Al "The Pride of Team Dromedary" dressed in his #65 Yankees Jersey it was party time. You could not measure his level of pride or enthusiasm.
D. Smith of the 65's
Stuyvesant took the stage and launched into a short but funtastic set with
"Johnny Tinitis" and
"Hellbent for Heather". As the opening riff for "Duly Noted" made it to my ears I felt my feet leave the floor.
My non existent rhythm kicked in as I danced around spastically like a retarded Peanuts Character.
(Joe Cool I am not) My love for Stuyvesant and each one of the inmates in that crazy band grows with each and every show. Their upbeat vibe is so infectious you can't help but want to go to each and every show and event. The fact that they are such awesome people doesn't hurt one bit.
The 65's

Soon enough it was time for the 65's to do some damage. Joe, Dan, Cindi and Johnny are a relatively new band but have been on Jerseys underground scene since the 90's in acts like
Balloon Squad, Electric Frankenstein and Shirk Circus to name just a few. Their debut record "Strike Hard" is one of the years best and will surely make waves. Their mix of excellent song writing, excellent musicianship and gravely vocals makes for a very intimate and real vibe. Joe V. is a perfect frontman with his share of swagger and bravado while John Steel is a taskmaster on the drums. Cindi (Bass) and Dan (Guitar/Vocals) give the band a perfect balance and sense of ease. The Band opened with edgy "Blades of Glass" and followed with the folky "Greatest Pretense". All in all they played a good dozen or so songs including covers from The Psychedelic Furs "Pretty in Pink" (which is featured on the album.)
and Social Distortion's "Bad Luck", a song Joe Vocaturo's voice sounds custom fitted for.
It was really good to see everyone. See some new faces and hopefully make a few new friends. I highly recommend checking out Dromedary Records . While your there make sure you get  The 65's - Strike Hard disc. You just might find your next favorite band.
Happy Holidays.
James Damion

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Courtesy Tier's Record Release show at Pianos.

On Thursday night I managed to will myself off the couch and head down to the
Lower East Side in order to show my support to a band who was celebrating the official release of their new EP
"Holy Hot Fire". If you've seen my recent review you'll know that it's been on in heavy rotation at the United by bed and optional breakfast. As I pulled in to a spot just across from Pianos
I entertained the idea of grabbing a pastrami at Katz's before running in. However, the thought of entering Pianos smelling like a Pastrami suit in such hard economic times seemed risky.

As I made my way past the bar and headed towards the back of the club I couldn't believe it had been a few years since I'd attended a show. I'm pretty sure it was Beat The Devil.
As I made my way towards the front I couldn't help but feel a sense of warmth about the crowd. A lot of friends and family had shown up to see the band celebrate their release.

It was a good vibe to say the least. As Omer and Layton took the stage I couldn't help but recall the first time I saw the band back in September. It was a three day music festival with over forty bands playing their hearts out. The fact that they stood out amongst the enormous amount of talent there. 

The bands sound feels perfect in a small intimate setting with songs that have a rolling troubadour vibe often evoking imagery and emotion.
Think Tom Waits on a whiskey and chaw driven folky blues rampage. Omer looms as an ominous presence during songs. Perhaps channeling demons who are not quite ready for Happy Hour. Raising his brow after each song to interact and humbly thank the crowd. The bands drummer Layton is another story all together. Often smiling and taking not of familiar faces in the crowd.
At one point the amazingly talented Jessi Robertson joined the band on stage to sing "Standing Near" which is one of the tracks from "Holy Hot Fire's" EP.

Needless to say it was a good night worth missing the season finale of Burn Notice for.
Due to a rumbling in my stomach I sped off to the nearest greasy spoon for a late night meal and headed home to my better half. Check out the bands tunes and make you way out to see them live. James Damion

The Courtesy Tier
Jessi Robertson

Monday, December 19, 2011

Sick of it All - Non Stop

As with any of Sick of it All's prior releases I met the news of a new record with a level of excitement reserved for few other bands. Having been a Hardcore fanatic since my early teens I followed the band from their very first demo to their first 7 inch and everything that followed. As much as I love many of the NYHC bands from that particular era, Sick of it All are in my mind both the ambassadors and kings of NYHC.

Just as my excitement reached the highest peaks, those feelings quickly faded when I heard the band was re-recording old classics as opposed to delivering new ones. The reworking, re-imagining classic tracks had me thinking of horrible choices that unlistenable bands like Asia and Emerson, Lake and Palmer would undertake. I debated for weeks as to whether or not to take the plunge, ultimately coming to the conclusion "It's Sick of it All." "There's no way they can mess this up."

"Non Stop" opens up with an updated version of "Clobbering Time" which welcomes back legendary rapper KRS-1 with his newly classic intro "Fresh for 2012 you bitches." Once Craig's Bass line introduces Lou's vicious growl "It's Clobberin' Time" even the most cynical ears are won over. The band rips through all the classics including "Clobberin' Time", "Injustice System", "US VS. Them", "World Full of Hate", "Pushed Too Far", "GI Joe Headstomp" and many other classics. All of the twenty-one songs featured are worth mention. Lou's vocals are venomous. Pete's guitar work adds chainsaw like results while Craig and Armand 's rhythms rage like dueling jackhammers.   I really felt a certain raw, live quality to this. It was as if the band were sitting with me in my living room, up close and in your face. Sick of it all haven't only updated these songs, they've thoroughly upgraded them. "Non Stop" closes with a spoken word by KRS-1 that will definitely have you thinking. Though I will always favor the original recordings I will surely check in with "Nonstop's" versions frequently. Fans of the band will definitely feel rewarded. The CD version includes a bonus DVD featuring the bands 2001 Documentary "The Story So Far" which  marks the first time it has been made available in DVD format. (As I listened to this record I couldn't help but think fondly of my old friend Gina "Last Daze" Lawson. She was a die hard
Sick of it All fan from day one. She would always refer to Lou and Pete motherly as  "Her Boys". Gina, wherever you may roam I hope it's with a twelve pack and a walkman blasting "It's Clobberin' time".")
James Damion

Buy it Here

H2O - Don't Forget Your Roots

Since 1995 H20 and singer Toby Morse have been the hyperactive torchbearers for the message of "PMA", (Positive Metal Attitude) educating the world through their music and actions. Throughout their decade and a half existence they've often worn their influences on their sleeves. From early roots in the DC area to their days in New York and beyond.

On Don't Forget Your Roots" the band has decided to enter the much too often slippery slope of the "Tribute Album". When any band decides to do a "Covers" or "Tribute" album there are obviously going to be risks involved. Music's landscape, along with most record stores cut out bins, is littered with those who have tried in the past. The idea of covering a favorite song or paying tribute to the ones that inspired us to pick up an instrument and go fucking ape shit seems sincere enough. However it is not without it's pitfalls. There's the risk of completely failing to capture the original song/bands energy, quality or overall angst is a costly undertaking. While some of the most sincere bands often come off sounding like the cover band that plays at the local college every weekend.

In this particular case, H2O and to be more specific, Toby, aren't really guilty of any of these clichés but they're not exactly making a good argument as to why bands should continue this ritual. Toby really does a great job on 7 Seconds "Satyagraha" and handles
Social Distortion's "Sick Boy" with a sense of ease that is amazing. The bands homage to
Joey Ramone on "I Wanna Live" is worth both mention and praise. Though there are a few highlights, Rancid's "Journey to the End" and Sick of it All's "Friends Like You" come to mind. The problem lies in the plain simple fact that there are too many others that are either immediately forgettable or simply unbearable. The classic "Train in Vain” by the Clash is unfortunate while The Mighty Mighty Bosstones "Someday I Suppose" fails terribly with the absence of a horn section. Another problem that is quite evident throughout is that
Toby Morse simply doesn't have the vocal range for a lot of songs covered here. Though this isn't a terrible record, it is at it's very best, tolerable. "Don't Forget Your Roots" has it moments but overall fails to really reach it goals. Not bad for die-hard fans of the band but I don't think this will win them many new ones. James Damion
Buy it Here

Friday, December 16, 2011

Courtesy Tier - Holy Hot Fire

As the end of the year approaches I've been treated to a handful of releases that I would easily classify as the musical peaks of my 2011. "Holy Hot Fire" just might be the most surprising of the mix. Brooklyn's Courtesy Tier has existed in different forms over the last seven years or so but finally found a comfortable niche' working as a duo which features
Omer Leibovitz on guitar and Layton Weedeman on drums.
The EP grabs you from the very start with "Fall Asleep".
A song so addictive I found myself singing along long before I knew the actual lyrics. The songs  Alt-Country vibe is beautifully haunting, setting the tone for the emotional roller-coaster that is "Holy Hot Fire". Uplifting and warm at times, dark and emotionally crushing at others. Despite being a two piece Omer and Layton deliver a full sound that comes together perfectly. While "Fall Asleep", "Standing Near", "Friend" and "Calling Out" all share similar qualities and a somewhat haunting kinship, "Cold" stands as a rousing, frantic offering that gives the record a unique energy. Overall, the record is a perfect blend of Rock, The Blues and a quirky Alt-Country vibe. I'd highly recommend this to anyone with ears. James Damion

Buy it Here

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The 65's - Strike Hard

On the night prior to the release of the bands debut record "Strike Hard" I sat with 3/4's of the 65's over coffee and other unknown liquid refreshments to talk about the release. Having been treated to an advanced copy of the record I had listened to each and every track numerous times. So much so that it had quickly become the soundtrack to my work day. Though the interview didn't go quite as planned I felt I was able to convey my excitement about finally being able to officially share my feelings about one of my favorite releases of the year.

Featuring former members of
The Dark Brothers, Shirk Circus,
Electric Frankenstein and Balloon Squad to name just a few.
The band combines an impressive pedigree. The 65's score exceptionally high points on their debut. Mixing intelligent, highly evolved songwriting with catchy, stick to your ribs hooks, riffs and melodies. There's a real sense of maturity and ease about the songwriting that blends almost seamlessly with the rather dirty vibe of the music. Al's vocal quality has a sort of gravely cigarettes and whiskey quality to them that really add a nice dimension to the songs. Opening with the sweeping "Greatest Pretense" followed by the somewhat uplifting "Walk on Selfishly".  I found myself almost immediately hooked. While songs like
"I Will Never Serve You", "Are You Tired of Me Yet" and "Wherever You Are" put the hook in me. It was Cindi's turn on the vocals "Worse Comes To" that made me put me on an emotional respirator.  Thus placing "Strike Hard" at the top of my list for favorite releases of 20011. Top it off with a cover of The Psychedelic Furs 80's hit "Pretty in Pink" and you've got a record that will win over even the most jaded music fan. One can only hope that the future can promise more from this band. James Damion

The 65's  Band Page
Dromedary Records  Buy it Here

Rye Coalition - Live & in Person DVD

Back in January of 2010  I was already writing for Jersey Beat covering local shows, writing and above all taking lots and lots of pictures for the site.
One day I got an email from Jim asking if I'd like to cover Rye Coalitions one off reunion and 70th Birthday celebration of David and
Gregg Leto's Dad Jack. 
I was already dead set on going but had once again forgotten to get tickets. Covering the show meant I didn't need to hustle for one prior to the show. "Fuck Yeah" The band hadn't played in five years but truthfully 
I hadn't seen them since the 90's. That night at Maxwells was by far one of, if not the, most incredible shows I had been to in my life. Now, for the first time since we're able to experience it through more than some random memories and about a hundred or so photos.

"Live & in Person" features the entire set from that February 19th 2011 set. The footage is exceptional, capturing the energy, enthusiasm and raw intensity of the bands performance. As I watched it I felt the same chills I experienced that night. Though I have to admit it was a little more comfortable watching from home than being front center. Not having Ralph Cuseglio's sweat dripping all over my camera was a big plus. Bonus features include interviews with Maxwells booking guru Tod Abramson and a very animated Alap Momin (Dälek). There's also a trailer for the upcoming Rye documentary
"Story of the Hard Luck Five". The trailer itself is, for lack of a better description,
hair raising. If this doesn't make you wet….. I don't know what will. Whether you're a long time or casual fan of the band, this is a must….    James Damion

Buy it Here!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Four Fingers - Custodians of Light LP preorder

Four Fingers are a kick ass punk/hardcore band from NJ whose music comes highly recommended by us here at United By Rocket Science blog.

The band has been hard at work on their new full length Lp "Custodians of Light" which is sure to be a killer record, and one that I personally cannot wait to hear.

The band is currently taking preorders and there are some nice packages available, including color vinyl and even test do yourself a favor and checkout Four Fingers bandcamp page where you can listen to the bands previous recordings which should lead you to the conclusion that you really need to preorder a copy of their soon to be released Lp "Custodians of Light" ... Dave G.

"Custodians of Light"

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Hot Snakes and Rye Coalition Bring Mayhem to Hoboken.

As the days drew closer to the show I recalled a September conversation with Michael and Vic of Static Radio NJ about how stoked we were about the Hot Snakes coming to Maxwell's. Here was a band that was both releasing an album and embarking on a European Tour and all they could talk about was a distant Hot Snakes show. A month passed and with all that talk I forgot to get my ticket. Did I not for see the show selling out quicker than a Justin Bieber signing at an all girls junior high?      I don't know. The thing is I completely fail when it comes to getting advanced tickets to a show. So a few days before the show I begged Jim Testa to get me on the guest list by promising pictures, a story and my first born. Surprisingly, it worked.

It wasn't until the day of the show that I realized that Rye Coalition were also on the bill. Feeling as if my stomach was performing some kind of sick voodoo ritual, I thought to myself, "Shit, I don't know if i can handle this." Knowing full well that I was being counted on I sucked it up and headed out to meet my partner in crime Dave.

As we headed in I couldn't help but feel that there were a lot of friends missing in action.   No sign of Mike or Vic along with a lot of others I expected would surely be there.  I made my way up front to find a comfortable spot to get a few pics and enjoy a close and personal vibe. Before long I spotted some familiar faces including Jenni Matz, the woman behind the epic Rye Doc "The Hard Luck Five". All was well and before we knew it Rye Coalition launched into another unforgettable set.
The band launched into "One Daughter Hotter than One Thousand Suns" and never once let up from there. The bands energy and passion is boundless.
This was my third time seeing them this year; second time at Maxwells.
Thus matching the amount of times I saw them during their hey day. I can honestly say there are few bands that do it as well. Each time I've seen them they've had me come away with a new perspective on how a a band can perform at a peak level while also connecting with its audience on a personal level. After the set I ran into an old friend, Dave Sien who was electrified by the bands energy. As he tried to describe the look on guitarist Jon Gonell's face throughout the set, I intervened and said, "Possessed". That would be my best description of the bands entire set.

Before long it was time for Hot Snakes to take the stage.
It had been what, five years since the band was last active? Though I'd never seen them live I had all the records and was well versed when it came to their songs. As the group took stage I took a deep breath and readied myself for what I was about to witness.

The band quickly launched into "I Hate the Kids", "Gar Forgets His Insulin", "XOX" and "Who Died" from the album "Suicide Invoice".  Rick and Speedo firing away while Jsinclair and Gar kept the rhythm.
The pace was fierce to say the least. At one point I noticed my that voodoo that had been working on my stomach all day was either gone or had been reborn in my hips as I could hardly stand still. As the band closed their set the already vocal crowd demanded more. Within minutes the band launched in to an encore of around six songs. More than enough to let the band get out of Hoboken unscathed. All and all it was just another amazing night at Maxwells. Great running into so many friends and finally putting a face to face to some of my long time Facebook friends. Can't wait to do it again.
James Damion

Monday, November 21, 2011

Taking a Closer Look at KillingHorse Records Part I

In just a short time KillingHorse Records has managed to build a strong foundation and lasting reputation with a handful of incredible releases that have made an immediate impact on the New Jersey underground landscape and beyond. With releases from Ben Franklin (RIP),
Secret Country, Invisible Lines, Cicada Radio and ¡No Pasaran! the label is quickly establishing itself as a quiet giant on the independent music scene. As their releases become quick favorites I decided to ask Mike and Ryan about the labels origins and direction. Here's part one of my interview with the men behind the music. James Damion

James: You started Killing Horse in the midst of a fragile economy and at a time when a lot of record labels were on their last legs. What made you want to do this?

Mike: Our circle of friends became close because we all loved music. Where we are from, we are the music kids; a lot of us were in bands. We consumed records, talked about them incessantly and went to shows as much as we could. Seeing shows is where music became accessible to us, a lot of the bands we were seeing were smaller, young, and poor. They just got in a van, and made something happen, not only that, but they did it with a great attitude, they were generally psyched to see people from towns they weren't from at their shows. We would listen to bands like Black Flag, or Fugazi, and see how SST records, and Dischord did things, how anything could be done on your own, as long as you had the will and organization. We started noticing a lot the bands we liked were all on the same kinds of record labels, Like Merge or Sup Pop, labels that did things their own way and made things work. In the meantime we started our own bands, we would see our friends bust their ass to find a space to practice, put all their free time into writing songs, beg venue owners to let them play, and get all their friends to come see them. Then they would spend all their money to get a record made, they would have them sitting there in boxes in their bedroom or their apartment, and then the band would break up. They would be bummed that they had to look at this graveyard of unsold records that cost them all the money they had. Ryan and I had this vision, that we could take the knowledge we had from being in bands, working in the music industry, constantly listening to music, being passionate about our friends' music and the willingness to put some hard work into something despite expecting little return, and turn that into something that could benefit our group as a whole. If we could pool our resources and our contacts and let each other know about pitfalls, what worked and what didn't work. We could start a record label. We could do it with a realistic approach and set small goals for ourselves, so little by little, we could keep moving forward. For us the key is to keep our goals realistic and attainable, believe in ourselves, and do things that we like, we don't look at it as a way to get rich; we just want to be able help our friends continue to make music we want to listen to.

James: Tell me about your partnership with Ryan?

Mike: So Ryan and I are really close friends. We have a mutual respect for each other. Ryan is a quiet genius, the dude can play any instrument, and he’s a wiz with sound. When we started KHR, he was doing a great job producing and engineering records on his own out of the practice space he shares with ¡No Pasaran! and Secret Country. Between our friends he's our go to guy for anything that has to do with sound. Me on the other hand I'm different, I work at Maxwell's in Hoboken. I go to shows a lot; I'm talking to people in bands, booking agents, managers, and label reps on a regular basis. I am able to see what the needs are for people in bands. It really helps us grow our network of friends and like-minded people. I gravitate to anyone who has a DIY attitude about things, anyone who isn't trying to just make a quick buck. People who make decisions based on passion and their heart. Generally those are the people I want to hang out with, talk about music with, and ultimately work with. Also I'm a get-off-the-couch-and-go-do-something guy. When Ryan and I said to each other, “Hey dude- lets just start a record label”. We both knew that would actually happen.

James: How does the partnership work? Do you handle different parts of running things? Is there something you individually work on? 

Mike: Ryan generally does the technical stuff, if a band wants to record with us, he's available to do produce their record, like he did with ¡No Pasaran¡'s 'Porter In The Making". He manages the website, until we can get a nice professional one. He currently does the accounting stuff, handles the Inventory, talks to the Record manufacturers I do most of the PR stuff, work with the bloggers and the journalists. I work with our promotions team; we are constantly looking for new music. So that takes up a lot of time as well. I try to reach out to other venues whenever I'm out of town. However, we talk a lot and pick up the slack for each other when the other person is too busy.

James: My initial introduction to you and the label was through ¡No Pasaran! How did you hook up with them?

Mike: Well, let's see. Eric and I have been best friends since we were in 5th grade; we went to High school together played in bands together. Romel is from Kearny, NJ too, Just like Eric, Ryan, myself and a lot of the KHR bands. He's been in bands like Dog Tired and They Fought Back, local bands that were doing the same thing the KHR bands are doing now. It’s a bloodline that keeps going back. Those are the bands we saw play live, or looked at their 7 inches and said - I want to do that!  Tom, the drummer, was in the awesome Jersey City Band, The American Watercolor Movement (among a million other bands).  His musical taste and sense of humor clicked with not only the band but us as well as soon as we met. We've all worked at Maxwell's together at some point in time. We planned on working with them from the start, but wanted to make sure we did it at their pace.   ¡No Pasaran! is enjoying a much more active time now then they have been in the past couple of years, I like to think that the stuff we are doing with them helps them stay motivated and want to keep making music, which is awesome because everyone who hears or sees them loves them, because they put their heart out there with every show and every release. That band alone is a really good example of why Ryan and I wanted to start a record label.

James: "Porter in the Making" is a favorite of the blog, which begs the question. Are they going to be doing an LP with you in the future?

Ryan: Actually, we haven't discussed future releases much.  At the moment, those guys are busy plugging away with live shows and pushing "Porter".  Of course, we'd love to do an LP down the line - or possibly just another EP like "Porter".  In the end it's really up to the ¡No Pasaran! Guys, and we'll be more than happy to help them in any way we can.

James: What are the chances of a re-issue of "Credentials"?

Ryan: Technically, it would be just an "issue" of Credentials, as the album never really saw an official release.  We sent out a few copies as part of the reward system that we did with the Kickstarter for "Porter," so there are a select few individuals who actually own a physical copy of the record, and I do have a few more copies laying around - so it is possible that it could see a proper release in the somewhat near future.  I engineered the record myself, so I have a bit of a personal stake in it, and would love to see it come out.  We've been hoping the mystery would build around it - the fabled lost ¡No Pasaran! Record. So we'll see what the guys want to do, and take it from there.  Hell, the Beach Boys' "Smile" finally just came out, so maybe it's time "Credentials" saw the light of day too.
¡No Pasaran! Lay is down at the Brick City Sound Riot.

James: You used "Kickstarter" to help get "Porter in the Making" out? What are your thoughts on using that platform? Do you think fans share a responsibility in getting the bands records made?

Ryan: I think the platform is fantastic! It really gives DIY groups a chance to do some things that they ordinarily may have been prohibited from due to financial restrictions. Of course fans share some responsibility in producing new material.  After all, without them, there's no market and no demand for anything we're trying to do.  The Kickstarter platform allows fans, especially on this DIY, grass roots level, to really become part of the process and show their support in a way that can truly benefit the artists in a direct way.  When you boil it down, it's really just a glorified pre-sale with some extra benefits for people who choose to get involved, and allows us the gauge the interest in a project before it's completed.  With "Porter", the fans clearly showed plenty of interest in new ¡No Pasaran! material; we were able to fund most of the project through it. It was a great success for us, and we'll definitely use it again in the future, however, it seems that almost everything is funded using Kickstarter these days.  It's really exploded out of nowhere in the last year.  I think it's important to use the platform sparingly, and not for every single thing you do. Otherwise it becomes like the pay-to-play system where you're asking your friends to buy tickets for your show or vote for your band every day to the point where fans lose interest very quickly.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Krakdown - S/T 7 Inch (Re-issue)

Excitement arrived at my doorstep today when my delivery from State of Mind Recording finally arrived. I had ordered the record back in early October and wondered if would ever show up. Krakdown had been a favorite of mine since my infancy on the New York Hardcore scene. Having seen them countless times, they more than earned that favoritism.

Krakdown existed from 1985 until around 1990 and went through numerous lineup changes including a hard to find first demo with future Crumbsuckers frontman Chris Notaro. The band played fast, raw Hardcore in a time when most of their contemporaries were experimenting with Metal. Known for their amazing live sets,
they played countless shows with the likes of Straight Ahead, Breakdown, Killing Time, Altercation and countless others. Though often over looked or under appreciated by Hardcore revisionists. Anyone who played with them, saw them live or hung out with them, can attest to just how amazing they were. Jay was just an amazing front man.

The 7 inch includes the original material from the Common Cause self titled 7 inch EP along with  two additional tracks "Ignorance" from Revelation Records "The Way it is" Compilation and "Krakdown" from their 1988 demo. Though they haven't added any new tricks such as remastering the sound. Krakdown is one of the kind of bands that probably wouldn't benefit from such. Krakdown were always a band that were at their best in a live uncontrolled setting. Thus embodying the raw energy of what Hardcore was.  Whether you were a fan back then or just want a taste of the raw energy of 80's Hardcore;  I suggest you get this. James Damion

 Buy It Here

Monday, November 7, 2011

Feral Babies - Violent Boredom 7" available

We reviewed the Feral Babies excellent demo tape a few months back so I figured I would take a moment to let you all know that their debut 7" is now available for order, so please grab a copy quick and get color vinyl or the even more limited alternate pre-release cover version...Dave G.

"Feral Babies is a hardcore punk band from Tampa, FL. Reminiscent of early Los Angeles hardcore punk. On Rigid Records of Assuck and Pink Lincolns fame".
100 yellow, 150 on black vinyl, 50 yellow with alternative record release cover. Record comes with stickers, a poster and a digital download card for the record.
Feral Babies Facebook

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Invisible Lines - Wise Up EP

With all the amazing music flooding my mailbox recently you'd think it was Christmas here at UBRS.  As more and more submissions come my way I find myself having trouble focusing my thoughts on one particular release. That is until today. I decided to take some time to devote my thoughts and praise to one particular release that's been in heavy rotation for here for or  over a month now.

Invisible Lines hail from Kearny, NJ and have been building a reputation as a  "must see/hear" band since their start in 2007. Blending different elements of rock that vary from Indie, Punk and Post Core. Each element coming together to bare very good results.
Though "Wise Up" was released back in 2010 (KillingHorse Records). Invisible Lines is  a relatively new band to my ears and though it's not what you would consider a new release. It is certainly one that I felt deserved attention.

The EP opens with "Medula", a track that immediately puts the listener on alert. It's frantic pace is a total adrenaline rush. I found myself dancing around spasticly as if I were some outcast "Peanuts" character. Jangly, frantic and a bit eccentric while still holding on to a sense of agility. It's an attention getter to say the very least. "Painmaker" takes a similar approach with more fluid results. "Clean the Mess" is a little more relaxed but still contains a lot of the excellent riffs your treated to throughout. "2 Stops 1" mixes more great vocals and a mix of choppy and driving guitar mixes. The EP finished up with "Release" a track that seems to benefit from a battle of musically split personalities. Relentless, the record never gets lazy or allow the listener to leave the edge of their seat. Throughout the record I felt a lot of different influences, including Quicksand, Fugazi, At The Drive Inn and others. Those influences however,  never overshadowed any of the bands sound, originality or overall excellence. James Damion

Video - Leather Leather Lp - Play Pinball Records 2011

I just picked up a copy of this Lp and man am I happy that I did. The music is punk yet quirky and interesting in the same way that bands like Wire took basic punk rock of the late 70's early 80's and morphed it into post punk... Leather Leather feels like post punk for the new age...Dave G.
What the label has to say:
Denton TX's VIDEO began intending to sound like a mix between CRIME, CHROME, and CREAM. However, the twelve songs on this debut LP, "LEATHER LEATHER", end up sounding like your record collection melted into one solid album. Ranging from songs that have the primal pounding of FLIPPER, the space jam sessions of HAWKWIND, and the lyrical bent of early ALICE COOPER and STICK MEN WITH RAY GUNS, VIDEO's debut album should shatter all preconceptions of what Denton's punk scene can produce. Featuring members of THE WAX MUSEUMS, BAD SPORTS, WICCANS, SILVER SHAMPOO, and as many other bands that you can name, "LEATHER LEATHER" breaks the mold of the usual poppy, melodic punk and instead forges a new territory somewhere between punk, hard rock, and weirdo psych. To borrow from the venerable BOBBY SOXX, "Fuck powerpop! Fuck new wave! This is punk rock, you're a slave!"
Keeping the spirit of the band's namesake alive, the vinyl edition of this record is 100% ANALOGUE. No computers in any step. Recorded on tape by ORVILLE NEELEY (Bad Sports, OBN III's, etc) in October 2010, a mixing session with DAVID WILLINGHAM at The Echo Lab, and cut direct from tape, PLAY PINBALL! RECORDS is shamelessly proud to unleash this disease known as VIDEO unto the world. Long live the New Faith. Long live VIDEO.
Play Pinball Records

Friday, October 28, 2011

Freddy Alva shares his thoughts on the upcoming Re-Issue of the New Breed Compilation.

In 1989 Freddy Alva and 
Chaka Malik of New Breed Fanzine unleashed an epic tape compilation that featured an astounding 
thirty-five songs from twenty of 
New York's very best established and up and coming Hardcore acts. After more than twenty years, a fair share of bootlegs and a very active Facebook page dedicated to it's memory; Freddy's recently reborn label is giving it a much deserved and proper re-issue. (For those of you that just went on Ebay to find a tape recorder, not to worry. The re-issue will be available in both Vinyl and CD formats.) As the days to it's release near I got in touch with my old friend to share some thoughts on the epic nature of it's release. Here's what he had to share. James Damion

James: There's been a lot of nostalgia and bootlegs regarding New Breed through the years. When did the decision to make it official happen?

Freddy: I've been thinking about doing a proper reissue for a while, ever since putting it up as a free download in '08. I felt that the compilation deserved a better fate than just an MP3 download & even though I included tons of memorabilia on the website/facebook page for the comp; an actual physical release would put it in its proper context. This all happened to coincide with me re-starting my old label up again. I decided to bring an old friend, Ryan Sikorski from Lush Life, in on the project. 
I wouldn't feel comfortable with anybody else but us doing it, not that I'm a control freak, but this had to done just right. Myself & the people that worked on it, knew that we had to get a certain look & feel to it & I think we did justice to it: the final product is a fitting tribute to how NYHC (& our youth) was in the late '80s.

James: What about the choice to make it a vinyl release?

Freddy: From day one vinyl was the preferred format. Another old friend, Daryl Kahan (who sang for a band on the comp), did an incredible re-mastering job that begged for analog reproduction, so the Lp format was the way to go. He also did an amazing layout for the Lp & Cd. We are including the original full-size 20-page booklet that came with the tape plus a photo collage/liner notes. It all just looks better full-size, not to take anything away from the digipak cd version, but the lp will also include 4 extra tracks not on the original comp plus a "surprise" voice over from a CBGB's regular that some of you might remember.

James: Had there been any other label interest along the way? Or was this a Wardance release from its inception?

Freddy: Several labels approached me in the past couple of years about putting it out, but to be honest, 
I just couldn't give this up to anyone else. Something that is, for all intents & purposes, my baby. 
I know how to put out records & luckily I found the backing to fund this project, along with the technical know-how from good friends to do a quality release. Ryan Lush Life is incredibly supportive, he basically said: "Freddy, this is your vision & we'll do whatever it takes [or costs) to get it done". This whole thing is costing a pretty penny, but the end result far outweighs the decision not to outsource the compilation to any other label.

James: Will Chaka Malik be involved in any way?

Freddy: I got in touch with Chaka about 3 years ago about my plans to put up the comp for download & a possible reissue somewhere down the line. He was cool with the website/download, but was hesitant with the reissue. His argument being of how hard would it be to track down all the bands for approval & how will they be compensated plus the logistics of dealing with a record label; his past major label involvement (being in a band that got signed) had soured him on the whole music business. I let it go at the time, but then at the beginning of the year, when it looked like I could realistically do the LP. I sent him an e-mail refuting all his doubts: 1) I am in touch with all the bands on the comp, they are all more than enthusiastic for the thing to come out. 2) I'll make sure everyone on the comp gets a copy 3) I am putting it out so the buck stops with me. I got his new e-mail, through a mutual friend, & sent him my reasonings. I never heard back , so I can assume he doesn't care/is ok with it or he never received my e-mail. I sure hope it's the former, as he was the co-creator of the comp back in '88. Hopefully we'll be in touch soon & I can send him copies of this testament to an incredible time & place that we were lucky to be a part of.

James: Are all the original tracks going to be featured? 
Any new surprises ?

Freddy: All the original 35 songs are re-mastered on the Lp & Cd. The only difference is that the Lp will have 4 extra tracks: 2 by All For One, a band that was supposed to be on the comp, who says you can't rewrite the past? as well as 2 live tracks from Life's Blood with Sean Murphy singing @CBGB's in '88. As well as the aforementioned "surprise" voice-over. We are also doing an alternate silk-screened Lp cover (200 made) with the New Breed logo in Wild Style graffiti letters.

James: How hard was it to track down all of the bands? Were their any permission or legal issues involved?

Freddy: Like I said earlier, I am in touch with all the bands, at least 1-2 members of each band. I talked to Bill Willson from Blackout records, who's a lawyer now, about his opinion on if I should get contracts or any other legalities drawn up. He basically said that is such a minimal pressing (1,200 lp's/ 1,000 cd's) & I am doing everything out in the open; there's no need at this level to do any of that stuff. The whole thing is costing a lot of money, of course we hope to recoup, but the main thing is that it comes out the way we envisioned it.

James: Aside from Wardance, how will you be distributing the record?

Freddy: Right now, the 2 main distributors that we'll be dealing with is Revelation Records & Phantasm Imports. Mailorder will be through Wardance & Lush Life. The postage is gonna be ridiculous to send a 2X12" plus 20-page booklet, especially to Europe, so we are encouraging people to get it wholesale from those distributors. I can also do smaller quantities, so any DIY distributors can contact me.

James: Judging from the fact that the New Breed comp was basically launched due to your wanting to do something with the band Absolution. Will Wardance be releasing their future LP?

Add caption
Freddy: Well, I can thank Absolution for (once) again inspiring me. Their '08 reunion shows encouraged me to start talking about the comp, then putting it up online, starting my record label up again... all the way to what we're talking about now, the reissue. They are in the midst of recording an Lp now for a really cool label, don't know if I'm supposed to mention the name, but you'll hear all about it once it's ready. I talked to them about the possibility of doing a 7" with new songs & they're into it, but now all the focus is on the upcoming Lp. I would be more than honored to do the 7", especially since recently interviewing Djinji & Gavin for the upcoming New Breed documentary that I'm working on with my friend John Woods. It's amazing how they can put everything in perspective, about things that happened 20-odd years ago, & the impact it had on our lives. Everything we're doing is not retro or nostalgia 'cause it comes from a place that's real. Djinji had a great quote when I saw him last: "Those days were great, I don't want to live in the past, but it's good to know we can revisit them & take what we need for the persons we are today".

James: You mentioned John Woods and the documentary. How did that opportunity come along? Who are some of the people you talked to? When can we expect the doc to be issued. Do you plan on having a screening at John's Nitehawk Cinema?

Freddy: The New Breed Documentary came about from talking to John Woods about having a record release party at his newly opened cinema in Brooklyn called Nitehawk. He suggested: "why don't we throw some live footage from the bands on the comp up on the screen?". That quickly escalated into hey, why don't we interview some of the band members that are still around & people that participated in the scene at that time. At present, we're trying to make a full-fledged documentary incorporating the interviews/live footage/photo & flyer collages plus a narration. Kinda ambitious, but we're trying to edit a workable rough cut to screen for people. The plan is that if we can get some backing down the line, we'll aim for a professional DVD release.

We did about 12 interviews so far with people like Djinji Brown, Gavin Van Vlack, Dave Stein, Carl Killing Time, Brendan Bad Trip, Bill from Blackout Records, Chris in Effect 'zine plus 5 others. It's a good mix of people that played on the comp back then, some did record ran labels/fanzines or just hung out & supported the scene in those times. We got some great material & I don't think there's been a NYHC documentary that's so specific to the years of '87 to '89. I know there's footage from the early 80's scene around & there's a NY documentary from the mid-90's. I think this illuminates an era that for many was a key turning point when CBGB's stopped having HC matinees & the scene splintering into various factions, at which point many people started choosing sides or left the scene altogether.

We were hoping for a mid-November screening date, but the reality of doing hours of editing while holding down full-time jobs/family obligations has revealed itself. We are trying just get it done & not stress out about a deadline. Like I said earlier, it will be a rough cut, until we can the find proper backing; hint, hint! Irregardless, we are committed to see this through; the stuff we've shot is golden & deserves to be preserved & documented. Once everything is in place, we will have the screening at Nitehawk Cinemas with Guest DJ's/Record Giveaways/Drink specials like the Raw Deal Dirty Martini or the Life's Blood Orange Mimosa! Keep an eye out for the invite on Facebook….

Wardance Records  Order Here
New Breed Tape Compilation  Facebook Page

Related Interviews:
My Rifle Interview
The Return of Wardance Records
Freddy Alva

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Images from the CMJ

Last week I got off my lazy butt and attended day two of the CMJ Festival. I got to see some of my favorite new bands and was treated to some new ones. The people were awesome and the vibe was laid back. I started my day with a visit my old stomping ground on the Bowery. Hung out at Bowery Electric and ended my night at my home away from homes Maxwells. I added a shot of The Nico Blues who lit up the stage a week prior at a "Tiny Giants" showcase over in Jersey City. James Damion

The Nico Blues
Soft Reeds 

Canon Logic
Those Mockingbirds
Invisible Lines
Marvin Glover
Lost Romance
Lights Resolve

Void - Sessions 1981-1983

Dischord has been kind enough to release this awesome collection of Void songs and for that I say Thank You!

What you get is the complete never officially released 20 song Hit and Run session from 1981 along with the first 1981 Inner Ear Demo ( including the Flex Your Head songs and the songs that ended up on the Condensed Flesh 7"), two out-takes from the 1982 Inner Ear session, and a couple live songs.

Overall this is a great collection of songs with top notch sound quality, as would be expected from the mighty Dischord label. The Hit and Run session in particular is killer...a must have Lp...Dave G.


These Branches - The Payoff ep 2011 - Kat Kat Records

These Branches from Long Beach Island New Jersey are a 2 piece punk band featuring Nick Hertzberg (guitar/vocals) amd Bryan Batiste ( drums / vocals).

These Branches excellent new ep "The Payoff"gets off to a strong start with the opening track"Profiteer" which brings the Minutemen to my mind, however on the remaining 3 songs on this ep These Branches switch gears a bit and develop a more 90's Emo sound in the vein of bands like Small Brown Bike. Overall I am impressed by These Branches ability to write quirky yet hook filled songs that will keep the listener on their toes from start to finish.

These Branches are getting ready to drop a new ep " The Payoff" on Kat Kat Records on the 30th of October 2011. If my attempt at a describing the bands music sounds good to you then please preorder the new ep from Kat Kat or at least preview the songs for yourself on the Kat Kat Records bandcamp page...Dave G.

Kat Kat Records Preorder
Kat Kat Records Bandcamp

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Holy City Zoo - Building a Strong Foundation.

Here's an excerpt from my upcoming interview with New Brunswick's Holy City Zoo. 
The band is set to release a 7 inch EP on Tiny Giants Records. They've worked tirelessly building a reputation as a "Must See" live act. Here they talk about the importance of basement shows, scene and connecting with the crowd.  James Damion