As I walked into Maxwell’s in Hoboken on Friday night, Cicada Radio’s lead vox/guitarist, Pat Keefe, and guitarist/backup vox, Matt Keefe, were hoarsely chanting, “I don’t want to die at a fucking funeral, no fucking way,” over and over again. It grabbed a hold of me and I was involuntarily dragged in despite the fact that my natural instinct is “beer” upon first arriving to a show. But in this case, I needed to hear more.
When I walked into the room, my eyes were autofocused on the tall, lean red-haired bassist, Brandon Barron, flopping about the middle of the stage with a giant scraggly beard to match. If Animal from the Muppets was a ginger and decided to take up the bass rather than the drums, he would be this guy.
I dug the way Cicada Radio set up on stage; the guitarists on either side with the bassist in the center along with the drummer. It gave more emphasis on the two especially when Baron jumped off the stage and rocked the fuck out like he was a rubberband man.
Cicada Radio sounded similar to Title Fight; post-hardcore with a smoothed edge of indie rock. There was a nice layer of echo on both their raspy, vocals and guitars that blended them together adding intensity and wholeness to their music. Although they claimed they had a fill-in drummer, Cicada Radio sounded great and I wouldn’t have even guessed that he didn’t belong.
The Moms were next to go on. By the way the crowd filled in, one would have thought they were the headlining band. There must have been at least 30-40 people out on the floor patiently waiting for their local Jersey heroes to begin.
Lead singer Joey Nester exclaimed, “We were gonna wait for you guys to chant, but I guess we’re just gonna start,” and a pit opened up instantaneously. Kids were slam dancing and banging their heads for almost every song. If ther weren’t, they were together in arms singing every word. Nester’s harsh voice coupled with bassist/backup vox
Jonathan Stolpe’s wails would be Walter White’s ideal chemistry combination for the perfect addiction. The Moms played their hits; “Dull,” “Bedtime,” “Train Station,” “Viva,” and “Business Is Booming” in addition to a song I’ve never heard called, “Road Soda.” It was a short, fast tune that was actually requested to be played a second time over by the crowd. This band is so powerful and full simply as a three-piece not only from their music but from their high energy.
The way Nester stretches his body and contorts around the mic as he plays- it all builds and climaxes in instances where he howls one melody as Stolpe shouts out a completely different line simultaneously. It’s amazing.
After The Fall were to follow. These dudes seemed to be a bit older than the other bands there but, as I found out, that did not mean their music would be anything less than awesome. They were everything I missed about being 15-years-old and listening to what I knew as punk at that time. Kind of similar to early Get Up Kids and Saves The Day but definitely grittier and more hardcore punk at times like Crime in Stereo.
Even though most of the crowd had left after The Moms, kids ran back to catch After The Fall once they heard what they were about, not to mention they called out for “the mosh bro’s” to come back. “Twenty-Nine,” a song of about a band member who passed away from cancer, blew me away.
The lead singer explained, “Every song and everything we’re about is about our founding member Brian.” It had more of a hardcore punk drive to it complimentary with gang vocals yelling out, “I don’t want to have to say good-bye/Twenty-Nine years is not enough time.” I was totally enthralled by their words and passion by the end of the song.
Finally headliners, Such Gold, were up. As they set up their equipment I had to ask myself, “Are these guys serious with their Hawaian shirts right now?” But as soon as they plugged in and began, I quickly shut my mouth. They were an explosion of school melcore/skate punk with a shimmering gleam of pop-punk and it was done so so well.
Every song that had kicked up adrenaline that had me going with lead singer/guitarist, Brian Kotin’s dynamic guitar work that was twitching seamlessly through each transition. And bassist/vox John Markson did not slow down one bit, he was also running his fingers up and down the fret board playing lick after lick.
The entire time they were so tight and on-point, especially the drummer who set the groundwork and pushed the timing along throughout every stammer-composed song. I really enjoyed the back and forth vocals with these guys. Kotin had more of a higher pitch yelp like Scott Wade form Comeback Kid that paired wonderfully with Markson’s lower toned screams. It gave the music more breadth and depth. It was as if every bit of the song was in a constant kinetic motion.
“Locked Out Of The Musical Theater” was definitely one of my favorites with the stuttering stop and go pauses and buildup of the snare in the middle of the song, The guys confessed that Such Gold is usually a four-piece but had been playing as a three- piece and were happy the way it sounded, I could not have agreed more. Their set was absolutely phenomenal and had me locked-in the entire time.