Coming down the home stretch, 2017 seemed like it was going to go down in the books as a pretty shitty year for most people, but fortunately for all of us, Tula Vera closed out the year with the release of their self-titled debut full length album. The young Montclair-based band has been growing in popularity in recent years and earning notoriety for their traditional blues rock stylings and taking many people by surprise by how immensely talented such a young group could be. The album release was celebrated on December 29 at The Meatlocker and also featured performances by Whiner and Jean Pool.
Thanksgiving Eve turned out to be a fitting occasion to have a show featuring six of Northern Jersey’s acclaimed bands – Sunflower, LKFFCT, Whiner, Trü, Smock, and Shred Flintstone, gathering to celebrate Tyler Curtis’ birthday. Though some groups have been around longer than others (scene veterans LKFFCT, for instance, are somewhat of a collective “father figure” at this point), all of these musicians have been supporting each other for years, as well as the whole music scene of the greater Montclair area.
Last Saturday, John Cozz hosted a release show for his new album, Salt, Pepper, Ketchup, in the basement of the Underground Skate Shop in Newark. The show featured an impressive lineup, paintings on display from local artists, homemade Taylor ham, egg, and cheese sandwiches, and well over a hundred people packed into the basement. I’ve previously written a review for Salt, Pepper, Ketchup in which I praised John for his D.I.Y. attitude and all of the hard work he put into creating this album. It was really great to see him get the payoff he deserved with this show, so first and foremost, congratulations, John.
It’s hard to say if it was the empanadas, the toy drive, or the Washington Square Park reunion but one thing is for sure, Saturday December 17th 2016, is a night that will go down as one of those “diamond in the dirt” kind of events that happened in this crazy year. For anyone who made the mistake of missing out The Meatlocker held its second annual Toys for Tots drive, in which they found twice as much success as the year before. Both the money and the toys were all donated to Oasis NJ. Oasis is a Paterson based organization with the mission “to change the lives of women and children by breaking the cycle of poverty through compassionate programs designed to feed, clothe, educate, and empower women and children in need.” It was great to have seen a mountain of toys and know that they are going to a good local organization.
In the past few weeks we’ve gotten a ton of new music from old favorites and a few new bands have popped up on the N.J. Racket radar. Check it out for yourself.
Montclair is kind of a bougie city. Upper Mountain Road is where all the Mr. Burns-esq villainous rich people live and look down the mountain at all the dirty poor people. Bloomfield Avenue is lined with fancy antiques and craft stores and designer clothing stores filled with young attractive white yuppie couples, who aspire to live on Upper Mountain Road and probably never will, wearing pea coats and furry earmuffs, who might stop in at Fricassee French Bistro to have the $34 Sole Meunier for dinner. However, if you live in Montclair, go to Montclair State University, or live in the greater Montclair area and you don’t fit into this aforementioned stereotype, fortunately, there is a place for you too. Conveniently located (essentially) in the basement of Fricassee, is The Meatlocker.