Last week, Terrapin Productions, a project of Sunflower drummer Tyler Curtis, hosted a banger of an event in Montclair featuring five acts, including Banana on tour from, our neighbor to the north, Massachusetts. The show was held at The Groov Café, which, the show aside, is a great place to go for some fresh juice and has an unbeatable brunch, for all of you avocado-toast loving millennials out there.
The show opened with a late addition to the lineup in a solo, acoustic set by Jeff Lane. Lane joked during the performance that it was the first time he had performed solo since a piano recital in the fourth grade, which he attested did not go well, but the many years since have been much kinder, as this time around Lane gave an excellent performance that was stripped down and sincere.
Sunflower followed with a half-band set, minus one guitar and one cello, but still having more than enough to create that light and melodic hippy groove. The leading duo of Bobby Kirner and Em Knoll create a blend so perfectly together, but are really just a microcosm of how masterfully in sync the entire band is, especially for a jam band with five, six, or sometimes even seven members. Their music is so relaxed and mellow, but rather than lackadaisical, the positive vibe and energy of their performance is guaranteed to get you on your feet and frolicking about. Psychedelics optional.
The true guests of honor for the evening was the touring band, Banana. This band, fronted by Chelsea Ursin, has a really cool, low-fi, grungy, bass-heavy sound that at times feels like they’re plodding through mud in their docs, while at others floats around in tie-dyed clouds. It’s always great to be able to catch touring bands like this passing through and for just one night to fuse the two scenes, enjoy a quality performance, and play host to a band on the road and try to make them as at home as possible. As always, very much appreciation to Banana, and all other touring bands we’ve caught, for setting out to share your art with us.
With the energy climbing from sweet and mellow to dirty and angsty, the show transitioned again to Jean Pool from Jefferson, New Jersey. Jean Pool’s signature move is to open their sets with a cover of The Doors’ “Break on Through (to the Otherside),” which would be a bold choice for a band with less talent or charisma, but Jean Pool pulls it off in a way that very few others could. This band’s performance is always cranked up to eleven. Bassist Paul Brushaber breaks the mold, not being confined to merely laying the baseline down, but also picking it up and throwing it around the room to really carry the melody of the songs while lead guitarist Dan Barrecchia absolutely fucking shreds, just like the voodoo child he is. Jean Pool’s performance was in fact so unbelievably good that the police even showed up to tell us how much they loved the music.
After the amps got turned down just a touch to avoid multi thousand dollar fines for enriching the community with local art and free expression, NGHTCRWLRS took the stage for a quiet, abbreviated set before the close of the night. Even with the amps turned down, NIGHTCRWLRS still had everyone in the place up on their feet and grooving to the music.
This show, while smaller and more low-key than most, really felt like a strong example for all the things that are right with D.I.Y. Tyler Curtis and Terrapin Productions did a great job booking five, not only incredibly talented bands, but also incredibly diverse bands. And also, when the cops showed up on a reported noise violation, they were handled respectfully and professionally and the show was allowed to go on. You’d be doing yourself a favor to keep an eye out for any Terrapin Production events in the future, as well as performances from an of the artists.
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.