Indie Music

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Published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on April 26, 2000. All rights reserved.

Hot Spots: Brunswick Indies

E-mail: RichardSkelly@princetoninfo.com

What has 85 bands over four nights, six venues and

2,000 live music fans? The annual Independent Music Festival in New

Brunswick, Wednesday, April 26, through Saturday, April 29.

After last year’s edition of the festival, first held in Hoboken two

years ago, then held in New Brunswick last April, organizer Doug Forbes

was so mentally and physically drained, he swore he would never do

it again unless he got some help. Sure enough, 16 ardent independent

music supporters came out of the woodwork — thanks to the festival’s

website — and will assist Forbes this year in hosting the Independent

Music Festival in New Brunswick. What’s more, a second, bigger IMF,

hosting 200 musicians and bands, is planned for November in Hoboken,

back where it all started, Forbes reveals.

"Last year was a fun time, and that’s really what the whole thing

is about, to have fun playing music," explains Forbes, a member

of bobfields, a band that specializes in power pop and melodic rock

music. Forbes’ own band will be performing at this month’s music festival,

because, as he stresses, "it’s an innocent venture, nobody is

making any money and I’m not gaining anything from it. I was at the

point after last year’s festival that I needed some people to get

involved, They did, and it really changed my mindset about the whole

thing."

In other words, Forbes changed his decision to scrap the event and

instead worked with the people who came forward to help him put on

a third Independent Music Festival.

"I owe a lot to the volunteers who’ve been helping out with this

festival, and the festival has been picked up by every major newspaper

in New Jersey the last two years, so it’s been terrific to see the

media interest behind it," says Forbes, who runs his own desktop

publishing and corporate advertising business and does advertising

copy writing out of Allenhurst, Monmouth County.

Forbes says most of the musicians and bands performing at the Independent

Music Festival are contemporary singer-songwriters or rock bands.

He hopes to encourage more genres at the November edition of IMF in

Hoboken, including jazz, blues, reggae, some world music, and some

electronic music. A small sampling of the musicians performing this

year include Lach, "an anti-folk singer from New York," as

well as a bevy of local and out-of-state bands, including the Cucumbers,

a band that has been playing around New Jersey since the mid-1980s,

the Wahoo Moment, Teenbeaters, the Hissyfits, G-Spot, Duochrome, the

Cogs, Footstone, the Rosemary Pure, Prosolar Mechanics, Ex-Models,

the Rosenbergs, Lord Sterling, Cropduster, Bastards of Melody, Slushpuppy,

Velvasheen, and dozens more.

Asked how he selected the acts for the festival, Forbes

says he had a committee of three people help him listen to a bevy

of CDs and tapes that arrived in the mail.

"We listened to the music using originality, songwriting, performance,

energy and consistency as our criteria," he says. "These are

pretty basic criteria, but nonetheless, five key elements that cooperatively,

if the ratings were good, it would mean a very good band, I think.

I didn’t want this thing to get too convoluted. People know when there’s

good energy, whether it’s an acoustic act or a heavy metal act, and

while it’s difficult to judge music in general, basically, we went

with the highest combined scores."

Although the bands playing at IMF are mostly rock bands, Forbes adds,

"the rock can be sub-divided from traditional classic rock to

indie-rock, which is more dissonant-based college rock, to progressive

rock. And we do have some wonderful singer-songwriters this year,

as well as some punk bands, female-based bands, and male-based bands.

Unfortunately, we don’t have any jazz or blues."

Forbes is looking to expand his panel of judges and his roster of

bands for November’s IMF in Hoboken, and include judges and bands

with some expertise in other genres of music, i.e., rap, reggae, jazz,

blues, world music, and electronic music.

"What I did see this year was a lot of submissions from rock acts

and a fair amount of submissions from singer-songwriter acts, so for

November, we hope to gain more interest from bands and musicians in

other genres of music," he explains.

"What I really want to do is have a lot of artists play within

a very small radius, basically, and Hoboken is a lot more conducive

to that," he explains of the November festival. "But at the

same time, New Brunswick has one of the more well-known music scenes

in New Jersey." New Brunswick also affords the luxury of being

able to walk between all of the venues involved, i.e., it’s several

minutes’ walk from the Court Tavern on Church Street to the Budapest

Cocktail Lounge on Somerset Street.

"I’ve booked plenty of individual shows in my time," Forbes

continues, "but when you take 85 bands and try to work out all

the scheduling conflicts in all the venues on your own, it’s quite

an undertaking."

"At the same time, I can’t tell you how fulfilling it was last

year to arrive at the festival and see bands you’ve never met have

smiles on their faces and play great shows."

— Richard J. Skelly

Independent Music Festival 2000, Wednesday through Saturday,

April 26 through April 29, at these New Brunswick venues: Court Tavern,

Melody Bar, Budapest Cocktail Lounge, Tumulty’s, The Vault, and Marita’s

Cantina. One night pass, $5; all-event pass, $15. No advance tickets,

all tickets purchased night of show. Call 732-660-0840 for more information.

Bands and musicians, especially jazz, blues, Americana,

electronic, contemporary R&B and rap artists, are encouraged to send

press kits and CDs for the November edition of the festival in Hoboken:

IMF, Box 414, Garfield 07026 and visit the IMF website at www.independentmusicfest.com.

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Indie Music

Wednesday, April 26

Court Tavern, 124 Church Street, New Brunswick, 732-545-7265.

Opening Night Party, "Pop with Mystery." Band line-up: 9:30,

The Sound of Monday; 10:30, The Cucumbers; 11:30 p.m., The Makeout

Party; 12:30 a.m., The Wahoo Moment.

Melody Bar, 106 French Street, New Brunswick, 732-249-3784.

Opening Night Party, "From Killer Indie to The Jam Revisited."

Band line-up: 9:30 Nonesuch; 10:30 Spindle; 11:30 The Anderson Council;

12:30 Pilot to Gunner.

Thursday, April 27

Court Tavern, 732-545-7265. "More Pop with Mystery."

Band line-up: 9:30 p.m., Ben Trovato; 10:30 p.m., North Sea Story;

11:30 p.m., Teenbeaters; 12:30 a.m., The Erics.

Budapest Cocktail Lounge, 234 Somerset Street, New Brunswick,

732-246-9055. "Hold on Really Tight: Absolute Mad Rock." Band

line-up: 9:30 p.m., The Secession Movement; 10:30 p.m., Powerful Invisible

Things; 11:30 p.m., Godboy; 12:30 a.m., Punch Drunk Monkeys.

The Vault, 10 Livingston Avenue, Monument Square. "Power-Pop-Punk-Perfection."

Band line-up: 9 p.m., Friends Romans Countrymen; 10 p.m., The Hissyfits;

11 p.m., The Cogs; 12 a.m., Footstone; 1 a.m., Casanovacane.

Marita’s, 1 Penn Plaza, Albany Street, 732-247-3840. "Nobody

Sits for Long." Band line-up: 10 p.m., Slack Season; 11 p.m.,

G-Spot; 12 a.m., Slick Pelt; 1 a.m., Barbuddha.

Tumulty’s Pub, 361 George Street, 732-545-6205. Bands

to be announced.

Friday, April 28

Court Tavern, 732-545-7265. "Vital Cog Records Showcase

Night." Band line-up: 9:30 p.m., Aviso Hara; 10:15 p.m., Duochrome;

11 p.m., Bigger Lovers; 12 a.m., Cobra Verde (Ohio); 1 a.m., Sonny

Sixkiller (Philadelphia).

Melody Bar, 732-249-3784. "Emotional Rock of the Ages."

Band line-up: 10 p.m., New Invisibles; 11 p.m., The Rosenbergs; 12

a.m., Elemae; 1 a.m., Clydesdale.

Budapest Cocktail Lounge, 732-246-9055."Hard to Beat Pure

Pop." Band line-up: 10 p.m., Humdaisy; 11 p.m., The Rosemary Pure;

12 a.m., Pacer; 1 a.m., The Swimmies.

The Vault. "Indie at its Absolute Finest." Band

line-up: 9 p.m., Moviegoer; 10 p.m., Land Speed Record; 11 p.m., Prosolar

Mechanics; 12 a.m., The Negatones; 1 a.m., Ex Models.

Tumulty’s Pub, 361 George Street, 732-545-6205. "Important

Songs from Today’s Songwriters." Band line-up: 9:45 p.m., Major

Matt Mason; 10:15 p.m., Joie Dead Blonde Girlfriend; 10:45 p.m., Michael

Mixt; 11:15 p.m., Lach.

Saturday, April 29

Court Tavern, 732-545-7265. "Indie Grab Bag."

Matinee line-up: 4 p.m., Motorway to Roswell; 6 p.m., Novena; 7 p.m.,

High Speed Chase. Late-night line-up: 10 p.m., Pulaski (Baltimore);

11 p.m., Mil Mulliganos; 12 a.m., Bobfields; 1 a.m., Plug Spark Sanjay.

Melody Bar, 732-249-3784. "More Emo with Huge Heart."

Band line-up: 10 p.m., Superthrive; 11 p.m., Ivet; 12 a.m., Lord Sterling;

1 a.m., The Milwaukees.

Budapest Cocktail Lounge, 732-246-9055. "Killer Pop

(nod to Bauhaus)." Band line-up: 10 p.m., Velvet Sun; 10:45 p.m.,

The Davenports; 11:30 p.m., Longwave; 12:15 a.m., American Boyfriend;

1 a.m., Jel.

The Vault. "Punk for Brunch" Matinee: 4 p.m.,

Slipkid; 5 p.m., TV Sound; 6 p.m., Clark’s Ditch; 7 p.m., Pull 130.

"Rock and Roll Time." Band line-up: 10:45 p.m., Wineskin;

11:30 p.m., Bastards of Melody; 12:15 a.m., 383 Stroker; 1 a.m., Cropduster.

Marita’s, 732-247-3840. "Ska-Groove-Rap." Band

line-up: 10 p.m., Little T and OneTrack Mike; 11 p.m., Velvasheen;

12 a.m., 7 Minds; 1 a.m., Slushpuppy.


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