On the heels of Bamboozle 2012, comes another authentic Jersey music festival — but you don’t have to navigate the 200,000 or so people who descended upon Asbury Park last weekend to catch this show. The inaugural Montclair Music Jam will be at the First Congregational Church (40 South Fullerton Avenue) on Friday, May 25, starting at 8 p.m.
The brainchild of Montclair native Dylan Richardson (24), the non-profit community venture is tagged as an “independent music showcase,” and promises to feature some of the Garden State’s best (though perhaps unrecognized) bands. The line up includes Montclair-based headliner Bern & the Brights, as well as I.O.U., Melissa & Paul, Neur, and Pinegrove.
“The bands vary considerably,” explained Richardson. “I’m wary of using genre descriptions, but represented we have post rock, math rock, post punk, hip-hop, garage, blues punk, and indie rock.” The venue, he explained, is big, and they plan to “cram a whole lot of loud fun” into it. While the event’s primary target audience is the twenty-something crowd, Richardson and his co-producers Victoria Gonzalez, Ed Carine and Shaun Henklein encourage anyone who enjoys hearing new music to check it out.
A musician himself (he studied piano at Rutgers University), Richardson hatched the idea for the Jam as a result of a series of conversations he had with his father about the need for a venue to support up-and-coming NJ bands.
“We’ve got some really great bands here in Jersey and I’m tired of trekking to Brooklyn to hear them play,” he said, lamenting that the structure of many bars and music clubs where local bands play requires the performers to bring in a certain percentage of the audience, and/or sell the tickets themselves. “This often results in bands literally paying to play, which is kind of a bummer.”
Catherine McGowan (acoustic guitar/vocals), of Bern & the Brights, told Baristanet that there’s a lot of positive energy surrounding the Montclair Music Jam, and that she hopes that the event will fill a niche in the New Jersey music scene.
“Montclair really doesn’t have much of a strong music scene, particularly for indie music,” she said. “We have Tierney’s and now the Trend Coffee & Tea House open mic, but it’s not like Asbury or Brooklyn where there are countless venues looking to book shows nearly every single night of the week. MMJ will definitely be a nice addition, to shine a spotlight on the younger musicians who exist in Northern NJ and are starving for places to perform.”
MMJ logo by Sweet Suarez. Photo of Richardson and Gonzalez by Luke Walter.