The Fifth Down Album Release Show - Long Branch, NJ

On June 2nd, The Fifth Down celebrated the release of their most recent LP, More Than Just Your Own Kind!

And what better way to celebrate than to host a super kick-ass show at Brighton Bar, located in Long Branch, NJ. I had the awesome opportunity of experiencing the show on June 2nd, as well as sharing in the festivity and celebration that the brand new album brought to the table.

Brighton Bar is a small bar located off of a tiny strip in Long Branch. 

And if you're a jersey kid from the beach, Brighton Bar is the spot to play if you're a local band. The Fifth Down hails from Red Bank, so this was most definitely their element. Doors opened up at 7pm, and the lineup was stacked with really stellar local bands including John Sheehy Quartet, Hexdog, and Jammerz. Of course, The Fifth Down was the headliner - and the crowd was more than ready for a really chill night - each band bringing their A-game, and performances that blew me straight out of the water. 

While I have a great knowledge of the Philly local scene, I am an awful NJ native when it comes to the local scene. It always excites me to go to shows here, and I was most excited to hear what The Fifth Down had to offer - a band I've been following for the past few months, one that The Hook has featured a few times (check it out).

Imagine this: a crowd gathers, shoulder to shoulder, inside of a bar where the room is dark but the stage is red. On the left a screen playing an introduction - dial up tones, laughter. People are shuffling, and then The Fifth Down appears. 

Their stage presence is all consuming - just a fun group of guys who love to play music. Their fans just a fun group of people existing and listening and singing along to this band - and my heart was happy.

The Fifth Down sounded even more spectacular live.

The emphasis on the entirety of their mission as a band was clear and welcoming. I felt like I knew these guys, and I don't know them that well, but I'm glad that I felt that. Their music is relatable, easy to listen to, lyrics to die for. Experiencing the album release with them felt like I had been let in on a secret - even though I had heard the album, reviewed it, written about it. I stood in a crowd that knew The Fifth Down better than I did: family, friends, significant others, band mates - and even people who didn't know The Fifth Down personally, it still like we were all there in on this really important thing.

If you ever have the opportunity to see these guys play, or any of the lineup play, definitely take the opportunity to do so.

These rad dudes are hosting this show, which is going to be a really awesome time. Otherwise, check out their social media to stay updated on upcoming shows, music and the like!

The Fifth Down: Website // Facebook // Twitter // Instagram

The Aquarian Weekly Presents Start At The End - NYC

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
Halogens: Bandcamp
Gin War: Facebook // Bandcamp
Hiding Out: Twitter // Facebook // Youtube // Instagram

Bernie Sanders Support Show - Philadelphia, PA

 Lina Xinos

Lina Xinos

Friday night is the perfect night to head out to see your local
bands play in support of politics, am I right? 

Yes, I am.

In fact, my Friday night was super stellar and filled with really awesome tunes, fantastic bands, and Bernie Sanders supporters huddled together. Picture this: A side street in North Philly - and the day was warm, but it's almost night so it's a little cold. There's a mattress outside across the street, growing flowers from it - reminds me of the floating mattresses in Harbor Park. Inside of an apartment all like the rest is a garage full of clamoring people - trickling in with cheap beer and cigarettes but smiles and the money they have to support Bernie Sanders. 

I brought my friend Lauren with me, and I was most interested in witnessing Weatherhead in person - the band I had been writing for and in contact with prior. However, I'm always up for a show that also supports local artists and musicians - and I was excited to see what Philly's local scene could bring out on this particular Friday night.

In the garage, bands played against the backdrop of a white sheet and an illuminated "Bernie" sign. The show was prompt to start - selling started at 7pm (a capped show) and the bands started playing at 7:45. 

The line-up was a great handful of local bands - ranging from electric rock to piano emo to indie alternative. It gave show-goers a really great mix of sounds to latch onto and vibe with. To open, Curtis Cooper got people excited and moody with his great variety of impressive vocal movement, then onto our personal faves, Weatherhead. Then followed by Walking Distance, Brown Rainbow, Starwood, and Line Leader. 

And each band was just as great as the last, the reverb in the walls enough to make you content and angsty and hungry for more - maybe a little cold, too.

In between the sets people gathered, huddled outside exchanging cigarettes and talking with band members about the process, about where they bought alcohol - overall, it was a great introduction to the Philly local scene.

I'm stoked to gain access into the scene, and I can't wait to see what it has in store for me.

For more info on the bands mentioned, check out their social media below!

Curtis Cooper: bandcamp
Weatherhead: bandcamp
Starwood: bandcamp
Walking Distance: bandcamp
Brown Rainbow: bandcamp
Line Leader: bandcamp

 Photo Credit: Emily Famularo

Photo Credit: Emily Famularo