I received an email a few weeks ago from Bob Makin giving N.J. Racket the heads up on a buzzing New Jersey “psycho funk” band, Experiment 34, set to release their new EP, Charismanic 2.0, on January 14 at the Asbury Park Yacht Club (APYC). If you’re reading this, you probably know of Bob Makin, but if you don’t he’s been a local music writer since the late 80’s, writing for several medias such as The Aquarian and his own column in MyCentralJersey, Makin Waves. He is one of the true O.G.’s of the scene and someone I have respected and been a fan of since before having started N.J. Racket.
I found Experiment 34’s Facebook page, the band fronted by Matthew Makin with Kevin Nenichka on guitar, Johnny Zabe on bass, and Jack La Monica on drums, and queued up some of their music. “Psycho funk” is dead fucking on. Their sound is heavy, with the wild aggression throwing back to 90’s thrash metal fused with the thick bass slinging noise funk style. Zabe’s talent is on display nonstop on each and every song. The bass never becomes a background instrument, lazily strumming one note lines beneath the melody. Experiment 34 uses their basslines as good as any band on the scene and correlation between the Zabe’s bass and Nenichka’s screaming guitar riffs is truly something to appreciate, especially on such premier tracks like “Check Up.”
The release show was set for a snowy day on the Asbury Park boardwalk. Will Wood and the Tapeworms and The Vaughns, two more of New Jersey’s finest bands, were scheduled to open the show and both groups delivered flawlessly executed and impassioned performances of their own for a crowd that I think may have violated some public ordinance occupancy codes (or may not have if any law enforcement is ready this.)
Finally, at a little after 11pm, Experiment 34, the main event, took the stage to give their EP release performance. I’m always curious to see how bands like this, with such fast, precise, and technically difficult music actually perform live on stage in front of a crowd, and these guys delivered. The sound was great, the energy was great. People in the crowd were dancing, trying to dive up on stage and grabbing at Nenichka’s pant leg as he’s ripping a killer solo. At one point I even caught Bob in the audience dancing a little back and forth, singing along to who I’m sure is one of his favorite bands. It was a good moment for a talented young band that deserved it.
Every band in this scene is different. Some of them of them, like Experiment 34, you could argue were born to be musicians. Some of them, like our own John Cozz, kind of just stumbled into one way or another. Some of them like Will Wood and the Tapeworms, are just, well, just fucking different. But while every band that’s making music in this scene is immensely talented and incredibly hard working, they all need the help and support of those around them. That’s why N.J. Racket is a thing; because we love local, independent art and want to do whatever we can to support it. Bob Makin has done so much to support this scene and has worked with an unimaginable amount of talented artists, but I’d have to imagine that nothing will compare to the show last night, in which the artist he’s supported longer than other took some significant strides with the successful conception and release of Charismanic 2.0.
Adam gave man-birth to N.J. Racket and is as close to an "editor-in-chief" the site has. He's a god awful photographer.