Hear Me Roar Women Artists along with Asbury Park’s The Saint hosted Electric, an all-female rock showcase featuring seven – yeah, friggin seven – of the best female-fronted acts in the area, including Tara Dente, Bone and Marrow, Emily Grove, Ila Minori, Girl, Jane, and Bi Tyrant. Hear Me Roar is planning a series of events in the greater New Jersey/New York area in an effort to promote and connect women artists, and if you get the chance to check out a show, I highly recommend it based on the wealth of talent we saw at this show.
I love the authenticity of The Saint. The bar is small, the floors are all cracked and dirty, and every inch of the walls is covered in band posters and stickers from the past twenty-plus years. It’s a total throwback to what Asbury used to be before the great yuppie invasion. As one of the longest standing venues for original, independent music, The Saint has become a landmark of the Asbury Park Scene and has been incredibly active in promoting this community throughout their history.
Meredith had never been to Pete & Elda’s (I know, but she’s learning) and since we were hungry and sober, I figured it’d be a good place to stop before the show. I just forgot that there’s always a solid thirty-minute wait, so we got to the show a little late, which has become customary for N.J. Racket. The crowd at The Saint was small early on, but still a good turnout for a Thursday night.
Bone and Marrow were beginning their set as we walked in. I’ve been a fan of the duo of Daimon and Jennifer Santa Maria since I saw them play at Tierney’s in Montclair last Halloween. These two have such a unique and dynamic sound, ranging from a kind of harmonic synth pop to a grooving hard rock. Daimon plays guitar while mixing in flute solos when he’s not shrieking high-pitched vocals, and Jennifer plays perfectly syncopated counter melodies on the bass while providing harmonizing vocals. These two blend together flawlessly and have a sound that seems so much more layered than you would ever imagine from a two-piece band. They just have such a great, positive energy on stage. The song Eye Contact from their last album, Patterns, is simply one of the most euphoric tracks I’ve ever heard, with a chorus that rings out, “Everything is beautiful/ Everything here is beautiful/ And nothing is regrettable/ Nothing here is regrettable/ Think I’m starting to see what you mean now/ I don’t have to see to believe now.” There’s so much hope and positivity in that song, and those are not two emotions that are often invoked in me.
During the set, Jennifer said a few words about her journey as an artist and performer, recounting her first experience playing a show at The Saint several years ago. The band was approached after their set and told how great they all were and that the guitarist was this and the drummer was that and that the bassist, Jennifer, was the sex appeal. She talked about what being looked at in that way before being looked at as a musician has meant to her and why, to this day, events like this one aimed to empower women in the local music community are so important. It was a powerful moment in the midst of a powerful and uplifting set.
Then, all the good vibes and positivity came crashing down when Emily Grove took the stage. To clarify, that’s not a bad thing. Grove’s vocals and lyrics are purely overpowering. They have such a weight to them that you’re afraid you’ll be crushed under it by the end of the set. Primarily performing as a solo guitarist/vocalist, Emily Grove has recently added David Ross Lawn on keyboard and backing vocals, which adds much more depth to the music while still preserving the raw quality to it. The emotion in her music is incredibly real and mature. It’s not emo bullshit about who your ex is taking to the prom. Grove introduced her last few songs by saying, “We got two songs left. One’s sad, the other…well the other’s worse. This one’s about death and leaving your loved ones behind. I wrote it while watching The Golden Girls at 3am.” Yeah, like what the actual fuck, right? Betty White’s going to live forever, isn’t she? Isn’t she?
Grove’s stage presence was unmatched. She sang one song a cappella, in a bar, with fifty or so people in attendance, and the room was absolutely silent aside from her voice. She held everyone’s undivided attention throughout her entire set. I had never seen an artist sing a solo a cappella song at a show like this before, and if I ever do again, I doubt it will hold up to Grove’s performance, which seriously floored me.
Ila Minori followed the amazingly awesome downer that was Emily Grove with a rocking post-punk set. Meredith and I got the chance to talk with Ila Minori at the merch table earlier in the night. She was super chill and friendly and exuded such a great energy. She is currently on tour from San Antonio, having just recently returned from Italy. She had become friends with Emily Grove, who had invited her to perform at this show, and we were grateful that she did because she rocked the house in her set. Ila Minori has a record on the way, but in the meantime, you can get yourself a free preview of the first single I Took the Money.
Unfortunately, I had to get back up to Newark and Meredith had to get back across the Hudson so we could go to our jobs Friday morning to make money to keep up going to badass shows like this, so we weren’t able to catch the rest of the performers, but judging by the sample that we got to listen to, I’m sure the rest of the night was fucking killer.
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.
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