The other night I posed a simple, yet complex question to a friend and fellow music photographer. “Can you ever see yourself enjoying, or even going to a show or concert without your camera?” It was a question I had to ask, considering I’ve asked it of myself countless times. After what seemed to be a decades long pause, he exhaled “No. I don’t.” The answer was as much a surprise as it was a relief. Having asked myself that very same question numerous times over the years. I find it somewhat strange that I know for a fact that I couldn’t. I don’t see any time in the near of distant future where I’m hanging back with a beer in my hand taking the show in as nothing more than a spectator. Whereas I see myself now as the old man with the camera at the show. I’ll probably end up as the really old man with the moment capturing apparatus at shows twenty years from now. Otherwise, I just wouldn’t know what to do with myself.
On Sunday the 17th I l headed South on the NJ Turnpike to New Brunswick for brunch and an Punk show at the legendary Court Tavern, We swept into town super early and did a little (actually, very little) exploring before grabbing a bite around the corner. All ages matinees are a rarity at the Court Tavern but Shannon Perez more than made it work. Instead of having the show downstairs or even in the back where numerous minors would be passing the temptation of the bar she had it in a small room just off to the side of the front door. (No one would even get as far as the bar.) The show opened with a five piece from Maplewood called Polyphony (more on them in my next post) and followed with Shannon’s band Hope You Die before making way for Four Fingers.
Four Fingers is a band I interviewed a little over a year ago and have kept in contact with since. I can’t think of a better group of guys to throw your support to. Their style reminds me a lot of Adrenalin O.D. with some Blag Flag and Stooges thrown in for good measure. Tohm puts 125% of himself into every performance. Always making the crowd feel involved and injected into the music. I think a lot of that leads to his many performance injuries which again makes me think of the Stooges. This performance was the tightest I’ve seen them and to give Tohm proper credit, he didn’t injure himself or any one else for that matter. Chris reminds me a lot of Animal on the Muppet Show. Pounding away on the drums with wild abandon. I’ve never seen any one get so close the the skins while he was pounding them. Be sure to keep your fingers away from his mouth. Ryan, the newest member has fit in well and seems to be the glue they’ve needed all along. Then there’s Jeff. He seems like the calm within the storm but his guitar playing is a sickness there seems to be no vaccine for. Check them out if you get the chance.
I can’t stress how important it is to support local bands and get involved enough to ensure that your town, clique or crew or zip code can build and maintain a music scene. It’s something that might take hard work but will reward you over and over again. Every band started somewhere. Bands we worship and write books about started by playing in basements and holes to a handful of people. Ask Ian McKaye. Ask Henry Rollins. Ask the fucking Beatles. Every band had to start somewhere. Every band was an opening band at some point. These bands need your support the most. I’ve always known people who only show for the headliners or their friends band. Growing up the NYHC scene was full of them. Sunday afternoon I got to the all ages matinee at The Court Tavern early and was rewarded by getting to see a band from Maplewood, NJ called Polyphony. This five piece are probably young enough to be my kids. (I’m guessing their still in High School) but they perked my ears up… and high. Just standing there taking it in I was reminded of all the great bands I saw in some kids basement back in the 90’s. Merel, Born Against, Greyhouse, Garden Variety, Dahlia Seed, Lifetime. All these great bands played to a bunch of friends somewhere in someone’s basement at one point. Their sound had me thinking of the sounds that were coming out of Ebullition and Council Records in the 90’s. They were so good that during their set I couldn’t help but think “That’s just the kind of band I’d want to promote on my site.” I made a point of saying hello afterward and managed to pick up a demo. I’ll definitely be looking out for more shows in the future. You should too.