When I’m not taking a month to post an article for my column, you can usually find me at the Meatlocker in Montclair, New Jersey or some equally questionable basement venue checking out new bands from around the country. Growing up on a steady diet of ‘70’s and 80’s music opened the doors to a whole new world. From Joy Division (Ian Curtis was amazing) to The Smiths to AC/DC, these bands have become huge influences in my taste in music. It’s rare for me to even enjoy the generic crap they play on the radio.
That’s why I explore the gritty basements or warehouse venues to experience raw, heartfelt performances by a group of talented people. The Meatlocker is the perfect place to witness all the talent that comes through. The energy from the crowds is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. It’s exhilarating seeing local bands rock on with their fans shouting the lyrics to every song.
I remember the first show I went to in high school at the School of Rock in South Hackensack, New Jersey. It was in a warehouse type venue and the lineup consisted of post-hardcore bands all the way from Indiana to California. This show was the first of many to be attended. I made the mistake of standing too close to the stage which resulted in my left eardrum to be slightly ruptured but I didn’t care. I like to think of that as a memento to a life changing night.
Ever since then, I’ve been to multiple shows at venues in Williamsburg to downtown Manhattan to Boston. Each show has been incredibly unique and emotional. Sometimes I get lucky and stumble upon people playing a few songs they wrote. This past New Year’s down at Rutgers University, my friends and I decided to go to our friends’ frat party not knowing what to expect. It was a medium sized group and we all huddled together on the floor listening to these two guys break out their guitars and do their thing. It’s moments like these that make me appreciate music so much more.
Just recently, I discovered a new band when out with friends at the Mercury Lounge. I was just drinking my whiskey sour wondering who was going to perform when this band comes and plays. The Shadowboxers did an awesome performance and I instantly downloaded their album. It’s not the type of music I would typically listen but I usually go to shows with an open mind.
I’ve always made it a point to check out local bands and spread the word to support their talent. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy SOME mainstream music and even made the effort to take my sister to see One Direction this past August in Philadelphia. I will admit I did have a ‘fan-girl’ moment when I saw 5 Seconds of Summer come out to open for them. I also took comfort in the fact that I wasn’t the only college aged person freaking out over a boy band.
I may not be a musician or anything but I still appreciate listening to good music which is surprisingly easy to find with all the horrible music we hear today.