Montclair Music Jam to Showcase Homespun Jersey Bands

BY  |  Monday, May 21, 2012 2:30pm  |  COMMENTS (5)

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.

MMJ producers Dylan Richardson and Victoria Gonzalez

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.”

Tickets are available at Just Jakes and Trend Coffee + Tea House in Montclair, online or at the door ($10 in advance, $12 at the door). You can follow the event on Facebook and Twitter.

MMJ logo by Sweet Suarez. Photo of Richardson and Gonzalez by Luke Walter.


  1. POSTED BY taqueriaautentica  |  May 21, 2012 @ 11:57 pm

    And we really should point out that the Taqueria Autentica truck will be there, serving the finest Mexican food. Cheers.

  2. POSTED BY profwilliams  |  May 22, 2012 @ 6:22 am

    “Montclair really doesn’t have much of a strong music scene, particularly for indie music…”

    Huh? As a student I remember going to film festivals and art/music shows at 8 Park St. It’s now THE MEAT LOCKER. A venue that caters to local and indie bands. All of my students (many in bands) talk about the place (not clean).

    Regardless, I wish them luck with MMJ. Indie music Rules!!

  3. POSTED BY complainerpuss  |  May 22, 2012 @ 7:36 am

    It’s now THE MEAT LOCKER. A venue that caters to local and indie bands. All of my students (many in bands) talk about the place (not clean).

    “Not clean” would be an understatement. The restroom at the Meat Locker makes the old men’s room at CBGB’s look like the operating room at Mt. Sinai.

  4. POSTED BY jerseygurl  |  May 22, 2012 @ 8:00 am

    Oh Complainerpuss! The memories that brings back. The Mudd Club may have been even worse. It was larger but had no stalls and was just the one for all. Gosh,those days were fun.

  5. POSTED BY bebopgun  |  May 22, 2012 @ 8:53 am

    Math rock?
    Sounds great. For $10 can’t beat it.

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And we can get this project completed in time for Montclair's sesquicentennial when we can stick a fork into historic preservation as a public policy.

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