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The Front Bottoms, Washington Square Park, Wyldlife, Camden @ Maxwell's 1.27.11

The Front Bottoms

The Front Bottoms live

Washington Square Park

Washington Square Park live


Wyldlife live


Camden live


Crowd Maxwell's

Crowd Maxwell's

More Photos Here

By Kiani Angus-Torres

In keeping with the mode of ‘only the strong survive,’ the kids came out in full force to Maxwell’s on Thursday for The NJ Underground and Jersey Beat showcase, having dug themselves out of yet another 18 inches of snow, and nearly selling out the legendary Hoboken venue.  The high-energy, buzz-worthy show featured up-and-coming bands Camden, Wyldlife, Washington Square Park, and The Front Bottoms, a righteous line-up that offered a refreshing wake-up call from our cabin fever. 

“Bruce shot a music video here, and he stood right where you’re standing… you, girl in the white shirt.  I see you.  Bruce, The Boss, stood right there where you’re standing,” said James Williamson, the bright-eyed lead singer and bassist of Camden half way through their opening set.  The members of this Boston-based pop-rock band, who are originally from Jersey and met while attending Northeastern University, were thrilled to be on their home turf at the club they went to growing up.  And the growing crowd was thrilled to have them, bouncing through the set as they played tracks off their recent EP ‘Vale.’  While their studio work has a more ambient quality, their live performance is a more pared down production held together with the meat-and-potatoes basics of rock-n-roll: an perfect blend of bass, guitar, and drums with easy to love vocals.  Camden brings a rare, refreshing, un-ironic approach to new rock that is sweet and satisfying.

In the same key of anti-ironic were the made-of-moxy New York band Wyldlife.  Frontman Dave Feldman has given himself body and soul to the gods of rock from head to toe, with a little hair bleach, a dangly earring in his left lobe, a cut sleeve t-shirt showing a growing collection of tatoos, and skinny black jeans.  Feldman thrust through the performance, with wide-mouthed wails, eyes rolled back, backed up by his pop-punk meets soul rock band.  Wyldlife is has clearly taken cues from such bands as the Ramones and the New York Dolls, but their up-to-date critiques of the NYC scene is what brings this band to the forefront.  Such songs as “Girls In Fedoras” and “Lit Lounge” make keen observations of a rock’n’roll band trying to pick up the pieces of the downtown grit scene that has been splintered by high rises. 

Washington Square Park kept the pace of the pumped crowd with their fast and simple hard-punk styling’s.  In less than a few heavy chord changes, a mosh-pit formed while Max Rauch sang his skin-deep, anti-establishment, anti-romantic, lyrics with full force.  WSP has gathered a strong following in North Jersey, who were glad to be singing along above ground to such songs as “Ladders” and “You Are The Sun.”

The main event of the evening, however, was the emo/punk-pop duo The Front Bottoms.  Brian Sella, on acoustic guitar and vocals, and drummer Matt Uychich were all grins as they played songs off their 2010 EP ‘Slow Dancing to Soft Rock,’ plus two new songs off their upcoming EP ‘Grip N Tie,’ due out this spring.  Their high-energy performance was fueled in no small part by crowd’s singing along to every word, as they churned through the kind of songs you write after you found your ex-girlfriend’s diary in the back seat of your sister’s car, under your new, re-bound girlfriend’s scarf.  This Front Bottom’s genius lies in their simplicity – guitar, drums, synth, a toy megaphone – draws you in by digging deep, without burying you with metaphor.   

A vain of joy over jaded was present at Maxwell’s on Thursday night, and perhaps the sense that it’s about time we get real about our roots.  As each of these bands has already built a name for themselves in the basement and back room scene all over the Garden State, Thursday’s show proved that we’d rather mosh than moan, we’d rather wail than whine, and we’d rather rise up and rock out.

Reader Comments (5)

Such a great show. Things got a little crazy towards the end of the Front Bottoms set but it was fun. Haha.
January 29, 2011 | Registered CommenterTerrance Pryor
first time in history an acoustic guitar melted faces.
January 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterD.
One of the best shows I've ever seen. Hopefully there are more Maxwells shows to come
January 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEthan
Saying this was a good time would be an understatement.
January 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRachel
The fuckin parkkkk
January 29, 2011 | Unregistered Commentercdaddy

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