So Long, Maxwell’s

I’ve been to Maxwell’s in Hoboken so many times over the past few years that I’ve lost count. In fact, I couldn’t even tell you the first show I saw there. I can tell you, though the feeling I felt every time I was inside: comfortable. While waiting in line to see the last show the venue would host Wednesday evening (July 31) before it closed its doors indefinitely, I befriended an older man who lived nearby. Talking about the venue and the shows we’ve seen there over the years, I described Maxwell’s as “homey” and he agreed.

I can’t explain it, but it’s the closest I have gotten to finding my Cheers bar. Over the years I have covered countless shows there and I didn’t even need to have my name added to the guest list. It was one of those places where, yes — everybody knows your name. One of the first shows I saw there was Tyrone Wells and Jason Reeves, both singer-songwriters who I went on to interview after thoroughly enjoying their sets at Maxwell’s. I also interviewed one of my childhood favorites — Kris Roe of The Ataris in the basement of the venue. (Picture below).


In 2008, I hosted my one-year blog anniversary show. I pitched the show to the booker of Maxwell’s and said my goal was to have 150 people attend. He laughed at the idea because hardly anyone who books their first concert can guarantee that amount will actually show up. But I was set to prove that I could do it. Josh Charles, Joey DeGraw and The Canon Logic, a band I would later come to manage, performed and 152 people attended. Not too shabby for my first concert.


I have reviewed countless indie sets, folk bands and even a few hardcore groups at Maxwell’s and loved every second of it. Covering concerts at Maxwell’s really helped pave the way of my career in music journalism, whether I was writing for my own blog or the Hoboken Patch.

Maxwell’s was hailed by Rolling Stone as one of the best rock clubs in the country and I couldn’t agree more. It has quickly become my favorite concert venue and it’s truly a shame to see it go. Maxwell’s, thanks for the memories.

Concert Reviews

Fifteen Fleeting Celebrate Album Release

Photo Credit: Jose Podesta

Maxwell’s was packed to capacity Saturday night as fans anxiously waited for Fifteen Fleeting to take the stage. With many in attendance sporting 15 F t-shirts and glow stick sunglasses, the room lit up in a distinct green and yellow blaze.

“If you have glasses, put them on. It enhances your vision – Fifteen Fleeting vision,” said frontman Vinny Belcastro.

With a driving drum beat and soaring guitar and vocals, the band had the entire room clapping along to set opener “Streetlamp Limelight.” As the song ended, Belcastro waved his arms in the air, asking for more applause.

“Hoboken, let me know you’re alive out there,” he screamed. The animated frontman continued to grab concertgoers’ attention with his high energy and strong stage presence throughout their nearly 90-minute set.

“We basically gave birth to a child,” Belcastro continued. “This child is called Presents and we want you to all go home with a copy and play it in your car and for your friends,” he said of the band’s first full-length release.

For the complete review, visit Hoboken Patch.

Concert Reviews

The Ataris Bring Music, Nostalgia to Hoboken

“Come up close,” frontman Kris Roe said before he kicked off his set at Maxwell’s Sunday night. “We’re a band from Indiana called The Ataris.”

Not that concertgoers weren’t aware. For most, The Ataris were a part of their childhood. Song requests were screamed out all night spanning their album catalogue. While Roe often joked with the crowd, most requests were played.

While the band has seen numerous lineup changes over the years, die-hard fans found comfort in that Roe continues to sing the songs they grew up on with the same passion he did over a decade ago.

For the complete review, visit Hoboken Patch.

Related Links:
Q&A; with Kris Roe of the Ataris: Part 1
Q&A; with Kris Roe of the Ataris: Part 2
The Ataris’ “Blue Skies, Broken Hearts” Acoustic Tour Hits New Jersey
Song of the Week: “Boys of Summer”

Artist of the Week Band of the Week

Band of the Week: MayOrWest

Together since 2005, MayOrWest got their start practicing at guitarist Pete Cataldo’s apartment on Hoboken’s Jackson Street. The four-piece alternative punk rock band has since performed throughout Mile Square City at venues including Maxwell’s and The Dubliner, the location of their first show.

“Our friend bartended there and said he could get us a gig. We only had three original songs, [so I told him] we could play a bunch of covers,” Cataldo said.

The band played nearly 30 songs for three-and-a-half hours. An enjoyable experience, they’ve been performing and recording ever since.

I sat down with the quartet outside Hotel Victor Bar and Grill over beers as they filled me in on their lives as musicians, the inspiration behind their songs and near death van experiences traveling to gigs. Easy-going personalities coupled with a hard work ethic, MayOrWest is one Hoboken act to pay attention to.

For my complete interview, visit Hoboken Patch.

Related Links:
Band of the Week: The Boxer Rebellion
Artist of the Week: Joy Ike
Artist of the Week: Amy Regan
Band of the Week: Titus Andronicus
Concert Reviews

Lights Resolve Host Van Listening Party After Maxwell’s Show

One of the hardest working indie bands I’ve come across, Lights Resolve has spent the past four years incessantly touring and building their fan base. Whether on the road or online, they continue to form relationships with fans and Sunday night was their way of thanking fans for that support.

For nearly 40 minutes, Lights Resolve diehards piled into their van and listened to their soon to be released debut full length. Parked outside of Maxwell’s, it was the first time they heard the record in its entirety.

“Whenever you guys want to leave, you can. We’re not holding you,” Reich joked.

By the tenth and final track most were still there, often singing along to the songs they heard earlier that night.

For the complete review, visit Hoboken Patch.

Related Links:
Q&A; with Lights Resolve
Rolling Stone Names Lights Resolve Band to Watch
Lights Resolve Win Opening Slot On Rock Band Live Tour
Lights Resolve Tear Up the East Coast
Concert Reviews

Asbury Fever Showcase Jersey Pride in Hoboken

New Jersey’s Asbury Fever entertained an energetic crowd at the 84th annual Hoboken Italian Festival Friday. On a stage set up in Frank Sinatra Park, the 10-piece band performed over 20 hits, including Jersey staples made famous by acts like Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi, Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes, among others.

Complete with saxophone, trombone, trumpet, guitar, bass, keyboards, and percussion, the group was reminiscent to Springsteen’s powerful E Street Band. With strong vocals by lead singer Brad Hobicorn, Asbury Fever had Hobokenites singing and clapping along.

For the complete review, visit Hoboken Patch.

Concert Reviews

Swingadelic Offers Big Band Classics in Frank Sinatra Park

Swingadelic, Hoboken’s legendary swing band, has become a staple in town.

Formed in 1998, the band frequently performs at Maxwell’s and venues throughout the tri-state area. The 12-piece entertained Hobokenites during a recent two-hour set at Frank Sinatra Park. Complete with classic jazz standards by Ray Charles, Count Basie and Duke Pearson as well as many originals, Swingadelic had the crowd dancing and tapping their feet along during the entire performance.

For the complete review, visit Hoboken Patch.

Concert Reviews

Stephen Kellogg & the Sixers and Matt Hires Satisfy Fans at Maxwell’s

Stephen Kellogg & the Sixers took the stage shortly after 9:30 Tuesday night while Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” blasted from the speakers.

“Welcome to Bulletproof Heart night everybody,” frontman Stephen Kellogg told the crowd to screams after the band performed first track, “Scorpio,” off their debut album, Bulletproof Heart.

Their 90-minute set included every song off the album played in order as well as newer material during their encore. Many of the tracks were performed live for the first time and at times the band stopped to regroup.

“This is why we’re doing this at Maxwell’s and not at Madison Square Garden,” Kellogg joked midway through “You’ve Changed” after forgetting the lyrics. The second song of the night, the audience didn’t seem to mind.

For my complete review visit Hoboken Patch.

For more on Matt Hires, read my interview with him here.

Concert Reviews

Cristina Fontanelli Closes 100th Year Celebration at St. Ann’s Feast

Performing Italian classics, Sinatra hits and Andrew Lloyd Webber favorites to an enthusiastic crowd, award-winning international recording artist Cristina Fontanelli closed the 100th anniversary of St. Ann’s Feast Monday night. The classically trained opera singer and former Hobokenite explained just how much the city means to her.

“I’ve been to some of the most exotic places on the planet,” said Fontanelli, who was the first classically trained female singer to sing in Uganda and Kenya. “But,” she added, “here I am at St. Ann’s 100th festival. I’ve been to so many places, but let me tell you something: There’s no place like home.”

For my complete review and interview with Cristina, visit Hoboken Patch.

Concert Reviews

Dawes Impress at First New Jersey Gig

California-based folk rockers Dawes performed to a packed room of enthusiastic concertgoers for a little more than an hour at Maxwell’s Friday night. While crowd favorite “When My Time Comes” felt like a spiritual experience with fans screaming the lyrics word for word with their fists in the air, the remainder of their hour-long set was nothing short of energetic with minute long musical jams throughout.

With four part harmonies and solid musical features, Dawes’ set impressed. Their first performance in the Garden State, frontman Taylor Goldsmith seemed eager to come back.

“If this is our first show in New Jersey, I’d say we’re off to a pretty good start,” he said midway through their set. “Here’s to the first of many.”

For my complete review, visit Hoboken Patch.