Rock n’ roll’s not dead, it’s just hiding beneath the surface. No, literally, have you checked the basements in your area? You may be surprised by what you find. Lo’ and behold, that’s exactly where our story takes place. Enter: lovely little subterranean hole-in-the wall known fondly as The Meat Locker, a totally legitimate venue that only gives the illusion that you’re trespassing. Maybe it’s the lack of a sign, or the fact that it’s exactly what one pictures when they think of the mid-70’s Punk Rock Revolution. Whatever it is, I don’t hate it.
One thing I really like about The Meat Locker is how spacious it is. Spacious enough, in fact, to set up two separate stages at opposite ends, and that’s where Alyssa Joseph comes in. The talented indie-folk singer/songwriter took to the stage for 20 minutes between each set while the other bands set up their equipment, ensuring there was never a dull moment. And she totally nailed it. Her guitar playing was on-point, and her vocals are absolutely enchanting. Check her out here. Trust me, you won’t regret it.
Kicking off the evening we had NJ band Motor Heart Man, a dynamic alt/rock duo with some serious power behind their sound. For what they lack in numbers they make up for in sheer awesomeness! With their hard-rock, slightly grungy sound they definitely started the party off on the right foot. Performing a variety of original songs such as “Aura,” “Do Not Feed Her,” and “Quicksand” they set the mood for a crazy night, and got the crowd pumped for the party to come.
Next up we had Bergen County’s very own Green Knuckle Material (my people!) GMK is a five piece band who combines elements of rap and rock to create their own unique style. I really enjoyed watching these guys perform, they have a great stage presence, and their high-energy performance style is guaranteed to make you want to dance along. I sure did! (No, we’re not posting video of that). They even did a rock cover of Don’t by Ed Sheeran that I may like better than the original— sorry Ed.
The Dead Flowers took to the stage next, and as always, they absolutely killed it. It is estimated that at least eight faces were melted that night. The crowd clearly had a great time rocking out originals like “Radio” and “Iron City. They even brought back “Guttermouth,” which happens to be one of my favorites. I’d like to believe was for me, but probably wasn’t (hey, let me live). Somehow every show is better than the last with these guys. Definitely a band worth going out of your way to see live.
Closing out the night we had Hong Kong Graffiti, a New Jersey art rock band who genuinely love what they do; you can tell by the enthusiasm they put into their performance. It’s clear that this is a group who wants everyone to have a good time. Their sound combines ambient pop with elements of punk rock that fit together effortlessly. Rocking out to their original set was super fun! I really dug the transition between “Stigma” and “Shut Down,” and the crowd seemed to be into it too.
Pleasantly exhausted with a slight ringing still in our ears, my friends and I said our goodbyes and ascended from the den of rock, ready for a much needed rest. Though to tell you the truth, we can’t wait to do it all again.