Last night I went to ‘On The Beach,’ a Hurricane Sandy relief concert at Paramount Theatre in Asbury Park, NJ, featuring: Preservation Hall Jazz Band, My Morning Jacket, River City Extension, Brian Fallon of Gaslight Anthem, Nicole Atkins, The Tangiers Blues Band, and more.
For more information about benefactors and producers of the concert check out this article by Asbury Park Press.
My Morning Jacket and Preservation Hall Jazz Band were phenomenal to see live, but the most pleasant surprise of the night arrived in one of the opening acts: River City Extension.
This eight-piece from Toms River, NJ, delivers power-packed progression with strong song lyrics about forgiveness, letting go, and moving forward. During any given song expect a trumpet, melophone, mandolin, organ, banjo, tambourine or any combination of them.
Sidenote: I’m a sucker for bands with five members or more who pull it off with precision, good lyrics, good foundation and groove. Just knowing bands like this exist makes me really happy.
Seeing River City Extension was refreshing in every way. It instantly transported me back to my college days of prancing around the local music scene in Tempe, AZ. Since then I haven’t been able to feel at home in a music scene. While I’ve gotten a glimpse of that feeling with NJ bands Indian Princess, Only Living Boy and Quimby Mountain Band, River City Extension wrapped me in.
They reminded me why I love local music. They reminded me what I love about discovering new music that transcends generic radio rock. They reminded me what I love about discovering in general.
Until you discover a town’s local music scene, you haven’t grasped a true feel of that place. Local bands are hidden gems of small towns. They’re best kept secrets longing to be shared. When I lived in Tempe, I flirted with the idea of moving back to New Jersey so many times. For the longest time I didn’t feel like I belonged in Tempe. Then I discovered the local music scene, and I fell in love with the place. River City Extension sparked that feeling in me again.
It’s never too late to check out the line-up at your town’s watering hole. Find out what bars have live music. Go to a show even if you’ve never heard of the band. If you’re stuck in a rut, tired of the town you live in, or think you’ve explored every angle of a place, explore the local music scene. Go beyond the radio hits and what you’re used to. Step outside your comfort zone and go to a bar you’ve never been to. Sometimes the best discoveries happen that way.
Definitely do yourself a favor and check out River City Extension. Here’s the link to their website where you can listen to their album “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Your Anger.”
Fun fact: “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down On Your Anger” was produced by Brian Deck, who produced one of my favorite albums, “The Moon & Antarctica” by Modest Mouse.
Here’s River City Extension performing live at Bonnaroo Music Festival in 2011. Watch how the song progresses.