A few bits of community news

Patrick Hambrecht of Flaming Fire dropped me a line about an electronic music festival that’s happening this weekend over on West Side Avenue. Apparently Patrick and Michael Durek — who you might know as an ace theremin guy — have been doing these events for awhile now, and I guess I’ve been too busy playing videogames to notice. The name of the party is Zip Zap Vroom, and that handle alone should have caught my attention. Anyway, I’m going to be talking to Patrick about it today for a Jersey City Independent piece, and then I’ll be able to report a few more details. Show’s on Saturday and the spot is 746 West Side. Camilla Ha, whose performances tend to be completely nuts, is on the bill, as is Leon Dewan, who will likely be bringing some of his homebrew synthesizers.

I’ll know better when I speak to Patrick, but offhand this sounds like one of those old-school, weirdass multimedia events that I associate with the freewheeling era of Jersey City — which might not be surprising, since Flaming Fire was part of that Perhapstransparent scene that used to art-prank this town semi-regularly. Looks like he’s still at it, and I’m glad he is. Meanwhile, over here in the supervised downtown, there are a few spots booking music semi-regularly, including Porta Pizza, where tireless Tony Susco has been presenting bands, and the Citizen, which was once the Dopeness. About a week ago, I caught Brother Stephen from the Multi-Purpose Solution with a new outfit called Lip Action at Jersey City Studios, which is in that yellow building at 143 Columbus that has been an arts location from time immemorial¹. Add that to Lucky 7 and Monty Hall and that vape shop on Monmouth, and we may have something cooking even if White Eagle Hall never bothers to open.

Usually on St. Patrick’s Day I duck and cover, but I am aware that there’ll be music out there amongst all the beers and shamrocks, and I’d like to direct your attention to some of it. For instance, from the Nothing Ever Dies department, Experiment 34 is celebrating a CD release at the Court Tavern in Hub City on Thursday night. Experiment 34 is a relatively new band, but the Court is no new place — it’s hosted a trillion CD releases since I first became aware of it in the early ’90s, and probably a trillion more before that. The band’s nervy hard rock feels equally informed by the Doors, Led Zep, and the early Chili Peppers, which makes these guys the latest carriers of a tradition that has kept the Court buzzing through its many near-death experiences. Thursday night is likely to feel very much like 1996 and 2006 did, and also much like 2026 in Hub City, too. Mercy Brown would approve.

Finally, on the subject of Jersey clubs that are forever: I made my debut at the eternal Crossroads in Garwood on Sunday night. I say this not to toot my own horn (especially since I am still as rusty as an abandoned bike) but to remind you that the show was a fundraiser for Jay Lustig’s NJarts.net, which still needs your assistance and support. I helped Jim Testa out on a protest number about Chris Christie, played a solo version of “Sugar Nobody Wants,” and covered Lyle Lovett’s “Walk Through The Bottomlands”. The last one was the fun part of the evening for me, since I was able to rope Ronni Reich, who I will always think of as the classical music critic at the Ledger no matter what else she does, to sing the Emmylou Harris harmony on the chorus. Ronni was able to impart some dignity and class to my performance — plus she wore cowboy boots. Now that I discovered that she works on 23rd Street, I’m going to get her to help me out with the new recordings. She’s been drafted into the Tris McCall marines. Sorry, Ronni. And thank you.


¹143 Columbus was the first place I ever saw live music in Jersey City — back in ’92, it was home to the Teaux Jam, who, despite their horrific name, were a really fantastic outfit. They lived together in a loft space that contained a sculpture by Brian Dewan, who always seemed to be around that building. See, it’s all connected. Later that space became the Waterbug Hotel, which was definitely an honest name to hang on it.