Less Than Jake Bring Florida Heat To New Jersey
LESS THAN JAKE
Gainesville, Florida Ska-Punk Rockers Less Than Jake (LTJ) played before a near capacity crowd at the Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, New Jersey on February 18th. Also, on the nights roster, Four Year Strong, Direct Hit! and Bearings. LTJ has been in the scene since 1992, formed in Gainesville, Florida and includes band members, Chris DeMakes on guitar and vocals, Roger (Raj) Lima on bass and vocals, Vinnie Fiorello on drums, Buddy Schaub on trombone and Pete (JR) Wasilewski on the saxophone. LTJ have been rather busy during their run, releasing eight full-length albums and nine EP’s including their latest "Sound The Alarm" which dropped in Feb of 17 via Pure Noise Records. LTJ is a prolific touring band that’s not afraid to put miles on the tour bus, including over ten years with Vans Warped tour. LTJ hit the stage to "Sugar In Your Gas Tank" and "Ghost of You and Me" delivering that unmistakable LTJ sound that immediately brought the crowd to life. Next up was Dopeman with Roger Lima’s distinctive bass licks shaking the venue. This show had the Starland Ballroom on edge from the start with Buddy Schaub working the crowd, Chris DeMakes distinct guitar riffs and JR’s smooth sax play. You can tell a lot about a band by looking at their fans, and one thing I can say is LTJ fans come in all ages, including kids with their parents. I can’t think of a better way to introduce a kid to live music that a Less Than Jake show.
The set moved on with Less Than Jake playing "Johnny Quest Thinks We’re Sellouts," "Never Going Back To New Jersey," "Plastic Cup Politics," "Bomb Drop," and "Harvey Wallbanger" to name a few. LTJ played a total of seventeen songs (including encore) and ended the night with a smoking rendition on of "All My Best Friends Are Metal Heads" that shook the rafters at the Starland Ballroom! Cabin fever is a real thing for people in the Northeast during winter and this show was a welcome relief. LTJ shows have the ability to take you somewhere else, away from all the BS in life to a place filled music and good times. LTJ had a killer set at Starland Ballroom tonight, a sing along to every song, dancing, crowd surfers and people just cutting loose.
FOUR YEAR STRONG
Four Year Strong (FYS) provided support on this tour and is a punk band from Worcester, Massachusetts with band members Dan O’Connor on guitar and lead vocals, Alan Day on guitar and vocals, Joe Weiss on bass and vocals and Jake Massucco on drums. FYS has been in the game since 2001 and has seven full-length albums to date including the most recent "Some Of You will Like This, Some Of You won't" which dropped this past September via Pure Noise Records. It’s important to note as well that four of their seven albums made the Billboard 200 list, not to shabby for a bunch of Punk rockers from Worcester!
Four Year Strong took the stage to "I Hold Myself In Contempt" with the crowd surging to the stage singing along. Next up was "Hero’s Get Remembered, Legends Never Die" which really got things started in the crowd surfing dept with a constant flow of people over the barrier. From that point on it was a hard driving full frontal Punk rock assault that took the Starland on a wild ride! For those who don’t know FYS is of solid punk pedigree coming from Massachusetts, which is home to some of the best past, and present Punk and Ska bands on the planet including the Pixies, Bosstones, DKM, Street Dogs, DMZ, Darkbuster, Ducky Boys and the list goes on and on! Four Year Strong played a total of thirteen songs and drove the crowd to the brink.
My first time catching their show, can’t wait till next time! Check out FYS on their website at www.fouryearstrongmusic.com.
Direct Hit! (DH) was one of the two bands to open the show tonight and they are a Punk band from Milwaukee. They have been in the scene since 2007, with band members, Nick Woods on guitar and vocals, Danny Walkowiak on drums, Devon Kay on guitar and vocals, and Steve Maury on bass and vocals. DH is a Fat Wreck chords artist whose latest work "Wasted Mind" dropped in 2016. DH was a great addition to this show delivering a high energy set of driving power chords, bass lines and charged lyrics via front man Nick Woods!
Bearings got things started tonight at the Starland Ballroom and hail from Ottawa, Canada with Doug Cousins on vocals, Ryan Culligan on guitar and vocals, Collin Hanes on bass, and Connor Kington on drums. Their latest album "Home Is" dropped in 2016. I’ve seen a bunch of good Canadian bands over the last year with most being from Ontario, not sure what’s going on north of the boarder but I like it. Bearings were a nice addition to an already great line up, with the crowd really responding to their sound!
In closing I loved this show, a big thanks to Less Than Jake for braving the cold Jersey winter, Four Year Strong, direct hit and Bearings for the great music. I would also like to thank the always-professional staff at the Starland Ballroom for having our back, Cheers!
Coverage by Patrick Gilrane
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