The Aquarian Weekly (NJ's original Alt-Weekly) has launched their really awesome sound series called Start At The End. Their first show was on March 30th, located at Paul Colby's The Bitter End in New York City. It included four NJ local bands - Owl Kill, Halogens, Gin War, and Hiding Out. Something I definitely wasn't going to miss.
The Bitter End is a small bar located in Greenwich Village, NYC - right on Bleecker street. The building is unsuspicious on the outside, and people gathered out front for cigarettes. The Bitter End, though, when entered is a cool, dark, sublime space with sitting areas and a bar top - as well as a stage. The walls are covered in signed pictures and posters, everything is red and moody: a perfect setting for the show we were about to watch.
I had been invited because of Hiding Out - a local NJ band that I've been following for a few months now. The show was going to be one of their first, in anticipation for their recently released EP, Vena Cava. However, I was already a huge fan of Gin War - and although I wasn't in the know about Owl Kill or Halogens, I knew that they would be hard hitters if they were on this line-up as well.
To open up the show, Owl Kill was up first. I would later on meet lead singer Pat as he was going around giving out copies of their first EP, Self Management. (which I'm stoked I got a copy of.) Owl Kill was an incredible opening act - the perfect band to get the room ready for music. They had a vibrant energy that asked for crowd participation - not to mention their music was rad. Upbeat instrumentals, powerful vocals, and lyrics to die for, I was heavily impressed by Owl Kill's performance and stage presence.
Next up was a group called Halogens - a really chill and cool bunch of guys that jam pretty hard. They reminded me of bands like The Wonder Years, Modern Baseball and The Front Bottoms - but they definitely had their own unique sound that made them fun to listen to and watch. Although their sound is a lot more mellow and vibe then the previous set, they were a great band to watch on stage with an upbeat and charismatic presence which kept the audience at ease.
After Halogens, Gin War took over the stage. The Bitter End was starting to collect more people now, and the room was hot and loud - but, I love live shows because I feel so alive in those moments. Gin War played a bunch of songs off of their newest EP, Half Of A Good Plan. As always, they were amazing. I love Gin War because they have such a unique sound - something they describe as beachy & dark - and maybe I connect with that because of where I live, but I think that Gin War is a band you definitely should be looking up.
Let's be real, though. You should be looking up all of these bands.
Last, but certainly not least, Hiding Out took the stage as the final band. Their presence immediately shifted the room into excitement - this being one of a handful of times they've had the chance to play with one another on stage as Hiding Out, as well as celebrating Vena Cava! The group definitely did not disappoint. Their stage presence felt important and invigorating. It was pretty late by this point, but everything and everyone felt so alive - an attribute I love about Hiding Out's music.
The show, overall, was a great kick off to an exciting idea for The Aquarian Weekly, as well as a stellar performance by all participating bands. Readers should be checking out these NJ locals - because they're making new music, and playing shows all the time!
For more information on the bands mentioned, check out their social media below!
Owl Kill: Website // Facebook // Twitter // Instagram
Gin War: Facebook // Bandcamp
Hiding Out: Twitter // Facebook // Youtube // Instagram