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Published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on April 26, 2000. All rights reserved.
Hot Spots: Brunswick Indies
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
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
"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
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.
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.
Wednesday, April 26
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
to be announced.
Friday, April 28
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
Band line-up: 10 p.m., New Invisibles; 11 p.m., The Rosenbergs; 12
a.m., Elemae; 1 a.m., Clydesdale.
Pop." Band line-up: 10 p.m., Humdaisy; 11 p.m., The Rosemary Pure;
12 a.m., Pacer; 1 a.m., The Swimmies.
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.
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
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.
Band line-up: 10 p.m., Superthrive; 11 p.m., Ivet; 12 a.m., Lord Sterling;
1 a.m., The Milwaukees.
(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.
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.
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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