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

Something About Death or Dying Make Maxwell’s Debut

After he jumped from the stage, Something About Death or Dying frontman Dan Pelic ferociously swung his microphone cord high above his head, begging the crowd to take notice.

The new heavy band performed at their favorite Hoboken spot for the first time to a packed room of musicians, friends and fans. With a high-energy 25-minute set, Something About Death or Dying impressed.

Something About Death or Dying came together over the desire to create a heavy metal outfit and play music they love.

“I think band practice is the most fun that we have in this band. We’re all friends who hangout and it’s very natural to play together and just have a good time. There’s no pressure,” Pelic said.

Having played in bands together since middle school, Coco, Kleinknecht and Pelic filled me in on their music, recording process and the stories behind their songs. For the complete interview, 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”

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

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

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.

Concert Reviews

Cary Brothers and Greg Laswell Kick off Co-Headlining Tour

Cary Brothers and Greg Laswell showcased their emotion-filled songs and onstage banter last night at Maxwell’s while Harper Blynn provided a fitting backing band throughout each set. The first night of their summer tour, Tuesday was just a glimpse of what is to come.

“I’m originally from Nashville, but I hated country music and I always listened to British music,” Brothers said. “That’s why when I sing I sound British.”

Though he dislikes country, he said his song, “Blue Eyes,” is the closest he came to writing a country song. Well known for being featured on the Grammy Award-winning soundtrack to the film “Garden State,” the track was definitely a crowd favorite.

For the complete review on Hoboken Patch, click here.

Watch Cary Brothers’ new music video for “Ghost Town” below.


You can see Greg Laswell’s video for “Take Everything” below. Fun fact: he’s actually singing the words backwards so it appears accurate in the video.
Greg Laswell “Take Everything” from Vanguard Records on Vimeo.

Concert Reviews

Chambers Celebrate Record Release at Maxwell’s

Photo Credit: Robert T. Huber

As Chambers took the stage late Saturday night, it was evident this would be a record release party like no other. A mosh pit soon formed a few feet from the stage while frontman Dan Pelic told the crowd, “Come closer. I promise I won’t hurt you.”

Together for just more than a year, Chambers’ debut album, Old Love is aggressive rock & roll with heavy vocals and ear-grabbing guitar riffs. With the goal to make a record that captured the band’s live sound, after witnessing their performance Saturday it was obvious this was accomplished.

For the complete review, visit Hoboken Patch. Stay tuned for my interview with Dan of Chambers in the upcoming days.

Concert Reviews

Good Old War, Yukon Blonde and Audra Mae Impress at Maxwell’s

It was evident on Friday night that Good Old War, Yukon Blonde and Audra Mae don’t want their current tour to end. With two shows remaining, the bands couldn’t get enough of each other. Whether it was Audra Mae calling members of Yukon Blonde and Good Old War onstage during her performance or a nearly five-minute jam between members of all three bands during Yukon Blonde’s set, their excitement permeated into the sold-out crowd.

Good Old War began with “My Own Sinking Ship” complete with accordion accompaniment. As the trio alternated instruments they continuously danced around the stage. Circa Survive frontman Anthony Green surprised concertgoers at the end of second track, “Weak Man” when he jumped onstage to sing along with the band.

For the complete review, visit Hoboken Patch.