It was under the stars this past Sunday when I took a trip down the rabbit hole at a CUB-run café. No, The College of New Jersey’s union board did not acidicly alter the refreshments. Instead it was the fuzzy current of grooves pumped into the atmosphere by the second act of the night Green Paper.
Intrigued by the band’s drummer, Natalie Newbold, and the bunny ears fixed to her head, I decided to move in for a closer look. Standing upright, I noticed a few audience members seated at the foot of the stage. Maybe they were tired, maybe they had a messy landmine incident in Nam, regardless, I didn’t think much of it, and remained on my feet. This was a mistake and it quickly became evident that those sitting were neither fatigued nor limbless, they were experienced.
Toward the middle of a 10-plus minute, distortion laden, neo-psychedelia opening jam where the band’s sound ranged from Animal Collective, to Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, to an alien abduction, my legs began to buckle and the universe began to spin. Suddenly I was Tim Robbins in Jacob’s Ladder. Did my friend T.L. just turn into some sort of lizard creature and scamper off into the shadows? Maybe, but I wasn’t about to let it scare me away and miss this performance.
Green Paper’s “April 27th, 2004” off the band’s Bookends EP
Probably the best aspect of Green Paper, this band can topple you with intricately composed noise rock and build you back up five minutes later with a catchy Local Natives-esque song, much like this one:
And as for what Green Paper thinks of your opinion, it doesn’t seem to give shit. Not that the members don’t care what you think, but as for what you have to say, they can take it or leave it, or at least the constant sound emitting from their amps would lead one to believe that.
There was no time for audience interaction, hoots, hollers, or applause. We were so lost in the constant state of play (the howling vocals of Tomm Hart, manic stick work of Newbold, the dual guitar play of Jeff Lane and Mike Mendonez, and Keyboarding of George Boff) when the first and only lull of the show came, an unsettling quiet fell over the patio. It was awkward. But when the crowd realized what was happening, it showered Green Paper in deserved applause and appreciation.
“We’re Mile Zero,” said front man Matt Houston to the largest crowd of the night, “and we play Rock N’ Roll,”
Matt Huston has worked this campus as a solo act in the past but on this night he made it a friend and family affair. With his brother Andrew on the drums and Ethan Fried on bass, Mile Zero’s musical range stretches from Radiohead to Buddy Holly-esque tunes.
Huston’s vocal range was showcased on covers of Radiohead’s “You And Whose Army,” an amped up version of Arcade Fire’s “Keep The Car Running,” and Voxtrtot’s “Raised By Wolves,” which can be seen below:
Despite the lack of a track record, Mile Zero proved to be solid live act. The band has yet to release any music but Huston has, and some of it can be heard here: http://www.myspace.com/matthustonmusic
I know for a fact “Curtains” and “Barracuda” are crossover tracks. Catch Huston this Friday at The Rat on the campus of TCNJ at 6:00 p.m. for a solo set.
Last to take the stage, and seemingly least according to the grumbling patrons, was the speed metal band Jade.
This reckless quintuplet has original music. You can download the band’s EP for free here: http://www.myspace.com/jadetheband
This discovery actually shocked me because the opposite appeared evident when Jade kept dishing out cover after cover of Van Halen, The Rolling Stones, and a Thrash Metal rendition of The Eagle’s “Hotel California,” much to the audience’s dismay. I happened to like that one, but as mentioned, I was in the minority.
“I wish this Rockband so they can fail out already,” said a passerby.
“The harmonies are well written,” said another, “just poorly executed and horribly off-key”
When Jade announced they’d be performing a few original songs, “Live It Up” and “Taste Of Anarchy,” and “Ensnared,” the crowd actually grew a little optimistic…sort of.
“They can’t do anyone else’s songs right,” said a voice from behind, “maybe they can do their own.”
Jade performs “Live It Up” at TCNJ’s Cafe Under The Stars:
The entire night Tyler Ableson’s vocals seemed terribly off the mark which ruined the experience for most of the concert goers. However, they failed to listen close enough to Nick Kasmanian’s rapid axe-work.
Kashmanian performs “Cliffs of Dover” under the stars at TCNJ…and compliments my Iron Maiden shirt:
Flames emerged from his finger tips as lurked into the center stage spotlight and picked his way through solo after solo, sometimes teaming up with Joey Percario on a dual assault.
Jade is a group that has one several band battles and even earned a spot on the Vans Warped Tour. It is instrumentally solid and the recorded vocals weren’t nearly as sub-par as in this performance. Maybe it was a fluke.