August 27, 2009

On the Beat: Aug. 27-Sept. 2

Karma Bat! headline McGuinn's Place (1781 Brunswick Pike, Lawrence, NJ) on Friday night.

Montclair musical mad scientists – headlining Six Flags Great Adventure’s (1 Six Flags Blvd., Jackson) Live & Local stage today - creep like the Squirrel Nut Zippers and “Rocky Horror Picture Show” touring a haunted carnival. Show starts at 2 p.m. Free with admission to the park. All-ages.


Percussion-pounding noisemakers – shaking the memorials off the wall of The All Call Inn (214 Weber Ave., Ewing) tomorrow night - sound like Animal Collective bashing aliens critters with a sack of nails. For fans of The Melvins and Rob Zombie murder flicks, too. Show starts at 9 p.m. Suicide Project, Slutty Earth and Omnious Black round out the bill. Tickets cost $5. 21-plus.

Karma Bat!

Lawrence madcap meanies – playing McGuinn’s Place (1781 Brunswick Pike, Lawrence) tomorrow night - fuse No Doubt ska-pop with Aquabats silliness. Show starts at 9 p.m. To Live Or Die in NJ, Shape and Cap City, open. Tickets cost $5. 21-plus.   

Red Sea Affair

Epic emo-core preachers deliver a sermon of prog-prodding Coheed and Cambria theatrics at Championships Sports Bar and Grill (931 Chambers St., Trenton) tomorrow night. Show starts at 9 p.m. Deluxe Thumps, Calm & Reprose and Amskray play, too. Tickets cost $8. 21-plus.

Brothers Past

Synth-sonic Philly jam-head’s rockin’-and-ravin’ blends and mind-spinning trance struts – set to headline the two-day Stir Fry Music Revival festival at Snipes Farm (890 W. Bridge St., Morrisville, Pa.) this weekend - run electro crazy without swaying too far from its hard-driving improvisational cycle. For fans of the New Deal, Disco Biscuits and Splintered Sunlight, who incidentally headline Friday night. Brothers Past play Saturday with bluegrass, funk and hip-hop outfits Steel Breeze, Dirty White Boys, Pete Kranz & WEMB, Sage, the Dirk Quinn Band, The Godniez Brothers, Si Senorita, Strange Sun, American Babies, Old Blotter, Turbine, The Hustle, Psychedelphia and deejay sets from Fish and Friends and DJ Fro. Friday’s lineup includes Newtown Creek, Tin Bird Choir, the Mantawny Creek Ramblers, two sets from Frog Holler, The Coyotes and late-night deejay sets from Re:Build and Smokey. Tomorrow’s events begins at 4:20 p.m. Saturday’s show begins at noon and runs through 3 a.m. Sunday. Tickets cost $40 in advance, $50 at the door. All-ages.

All Time Low

The melody-perfect Warped Tour headliners every-single teenybopper can’t help to bop to survive on sugar-happy pop hooks that made Midtown infamous and Fall Out Boy famous. The MTV wonder kids headline Six Flag Great Adventure’s (1 Six Flags Blvd., Jackson) Northern Star Arena Show tomorrow evening.  Show starts at 5 p.m. The White Tie Affair open. Free with admission to the park. All-ages.

Sunday’s Murder

Lumberton alt-rock romantics  – hitting up Six Flags Great Adventure’s (1 Six Flags Blvd., Jackson) Live & Local stage tomorrow afternoon – get sappy Oasis dramatics. Shows start at 2 p.m. Man On Earth plays, too. Free with admission to the park. All-ages.

The Gas House Gorillas

Brooklyn hep-cat swinger’s Royal Crown revving runs wild on The Wonder Bar (1213 Ocean Ave., Asbury Park) tomorrow night. Show starts at 9 p.m. Tickets cost $5. All-ages.  


Jersey death-core brute’s metallic head-shakers and In-Flaming Swedish thrash headlines Day 1 of Championships Sports Bar and Grill’s (931 Chambers St., Trenton) End of the Summer Bash Saturday afternoon. Show starts at noon. Echoes of Dead Gods, Scissors in a Cupcake, Crushed Beneath, Beauty in the Breakdown, Taking the Tide, The Mad Spatter, Beyond the View, Abserdo and Sella Turcica round out the bill. Tickets cost $10. All-ages. 

Cover Her Face

East Rutherford piss-core powers-of-pain pound out punishing tech-metal daggers slice like Ion Dissonance at Championships Sports Bar and Grill (931 Chambers St., Trenton) Saturday night. Show starts at 9 p.m. Saturday. Night headlines. Crawl 2 Chaos, Panopticon, World Lost and Dichotomy open. Tickets cost $8. 21-plus.   

Jeffrey Gaines

Not to plug cover material, but the singer’s heart-melting remake of Peter Gabriel’s “In You Eyes” still gets the girlies’ knees weak. Captain cool, who single-handedly gave man-hating singer-songwriting sex appeal, headlines The Record Collector (358 Farnsworth Ave., Bordentown) on Saturday night. Show starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $15 in advance, $20 at the door. All-ages.

50 Cent

Many expect the G-Unit-founder’s thug-rap “In Da Club” party machine – firing up Six Flags Great Adventure’s (1 Six Flags Blvd., Jackson) Saturday night – to include the first taste of the gangsta’s upcoming “Before I Self Destruct,” LP. Set to drop in November, the record’s been in the works for over two years, and was described by Mr. Curtis in an MTV interview as a “darker,” more “aggressive” than his previous work. Show starts at 7 p.m. Redrum opens. Tickets cost $20. All-ages.

We Own Egypt

Eyeliner-metal melody-melters mix up Senses Fail/Atreyu – headline Day 2 of Championships Sports Bar and Grill’s (931 Chambers St., Trenton) End of the Summer Bash Sunday afternoon. Show starts at noon. A Little Affair, C.F.C., Panopticon, Araena, Paul Kartelias, Four Our Lifetime, Ugly Girls Crying, Morbid Visions, What Lies Beneath and Home Court play, too. Tickets cost $10. All-ages.

Peter Frampton

David Bowie’s high school classmate and Humble Pie guitarist - who sold $6 million copies of his 1976 “… Comes Alive!” record, only to find it for sale at any flea market for $1 – saw his career in decline after appearing with the Bee Gees in the failed rock opera “Sgt. Peppers Lonely Heart Club Band.” The never-say-die Brit – who headlines the Stone Pony Summer Stage (913 Ocean Ave., Asbury Park) on Sunday – has found success in his ’60s, winning a Grammy in 2007 for Best Pop Instrumental Album. Show starts at 5 p.m. Tickets cost $42 in advance, $45 at the door. All-ages.

Scott Frost’s On The Beat concert listing appears in The Trentonian every Thursday. If your band is playing around town, hit up the On the Beat webline at


Very Best: M.I.A. Party Mix Down

M.I.A.'s success has opened the states to a wide view on international music. From Brazilian funk to Middle Eastern/Indian soundscapes heard on her albums and the soundtrack to the Oscar-winning film "Slumdog Millionaire" (which she contributed her voice, tracks, remixes and production), Maya's spearheaded a movement to bring worldwide musical flavors to American ears.
Now we have M.I.A. lending her talents and revolutionary party beats to a European production team and Malawian singer Esau Mwamwaya Afro-conscious project, The Very Best. "Warm Heart of Africa" just dropped on Tuesday and it's awesome.
(NOTE: it's only out digitally. The CD hits stores Oct. 6)
The Very Best is receiving critical acclaim for its high-energy live performances and genre-bending sound in wake of its first U.S. tour. The band came together when Mwamwaya first met Radioclit’s Etienne Tron in 2007 while haggling over a bicycle in the London second-hand furniture shop he ran near the duo’s studio. Following the exchange, Mwamwaya was invited to Tron’s house-warming party where he met the other half of Radioclit, Johan Karlberg. Esau was asked to come to Radioclit’s studio after he told Karlberg he was a drummer. It turned out Esau was a singer too and they decided to collaborate, combining Radioclit’s vast production experience and self-described “ghettopop” style—having produced and remixed tracks for the likes of M.I.A., Lily Allen, Justin Timberlake, Santigold, Britney Spears, TV On The Radio, David Banner, Buraka Som Sistema among others—with Mwamwaya’s emotive vocal approach. Karlberg dubbed Mwamwaya “the African Phil Collins,” and they have been recording songs together ever since. 

August 26, 2009

Squirrel Nut Zippers: Big Band Buzzing

(Above) The Squirrel Nut Zippers circa 1996.
(Below Left) Chris Phillips works on the new record.
* From the band's "Lost At Sea" CD
The Squirrel Nut Zippers are finally returning to shore with the forthcoming release of their new album "Lost At Sea." 
The album is the band’s first new release in nine years.  Lost At Sea (Southern Broadcasting/MRI) also shares the distinction of being the band’s first ever live album as well. 
Recorded live at Southpaw, in Brooklyn NY, the Squirrel Nut Zippers performed many of their greatest hits and strongest material for a standing room only audience.  “Danny Diamond,” “Put A Lid On It,” “Bad Businessman,” “Blue Angel,” and many other Zipper classics make up the set.  The band delivers energetic, sometimes loose, sometimes clairvoyant, but always spirited performances on Lost At Sea.
The title of the new release is very appropriate considering the bands unfortunate departure from public life in 2002 when the Disney cruise ship they were performing aboard hit a massive island of trash and was rendered unseaworthy. The Squirrel Nut Zippers were forced into a dingy which was quickly swept away by ocean currents and deposited on a remote and uninhabited island.  Surviving on coconuts and monkey scat they managed to stave off death until a location scout for the television reality show "Survivor" stumbled upon them and brought them back to the United States.
 Rejuvenated by this mishap and with a new lust for life, the band returned to the road in 2007 with the core of their original line up intact: Jim "Jimbo" Mathus (vocals and guitar), Katharine Whalen (vocals, banjo, ukulele), Chris Phillips (drums, percussion), Je Widenhouse (Trumpet) and Stuart Cole (Bass).
“The crowds we’ve had at these shows since coming back have been nothing short of fantastic,” Phillips commented.  “It’s been great to reconnect with our old fans and meet all of the ones who didn’t catch us the first time around.  It’s truly been a heartwarming experience.”
 The Squirrel Nut Zippers still rejoice at the difficulty people have in pigeonholing their unmistakable sound. A perpetually evolving, hybrid-stew of Southern roots traditions, the Zippers have been tagged with every label from “swing band,” to “hot jazz band” to even "'30s punk." 
As far as future plans go for the Squirrel Nut Zippers, Phillips is excited.    “Honestly, the band is getting along better than we ever did in the past and I believe the desire is there to try recording a new album for release in 2010.”