Becoming bored with the same weekend routines, I decided to venture outside of my comfort zone and explore a part of Rutgers’ nightlife that I had never explored before. What I discovered proved to be one of the most exciting and best kept secrets at Rutgers: Underground Shows.
I have to admit, walking in, I was a little hesitant about what I was about to experience. Hearing stories of mosh pits and puddles of sweat, I didn’t think this would be my forte. Instead, what I found, was a group of ridiculously passionate, friendly people, and some awesome music that I haven’t stopped listening to since.
Here at Rutgers, the underground music scene is an entity rarely brought to light, excuse the pun. However, the talent that lies inside the concrete walls of these off campus houses and dimly lit taverns, is one that should be recognized by many. I had the opportunity to sit down with two of these bands and get a little peek inside the world of underground music.
Joe Zorzi (Vocals, Rhythm Guitar), Brendan Hourican (Lead Guitar, Vocals), Matt Coccaro (Bass), and Jesse Slachman (Drums), form the Rutgers-based alternative rock group Modern Chemistry. A year ago the four boys, who had previously met in high school, decided to join their talents ultimately leading to an amazing first EP and the up and coming creation of their second one. Now that the four boys are finishing, or have finished, college their love for music has become more than a hobby.
They hope to take their music further than just basement shows, as they begin to record their second EP. One can compare Modern Chemistry‘s style to bands like Brand New and Taking Back Sunday, with a The 1975 twist. Writing their own music comes easy to them. Vocalist Joe Zorzi jokes that he likes to “borrow words from the dictionary.” Their lyrics, when mixed with great guitar rhythms and drum beats, create the perfect song that will be stuck in your head for days. Guitarist Brendan kids that his “thesaurus app comes in handy” when writing. Aside from performing, this comical bunch has recently embarked on a new project called Mad Money in the Bank Entertainment. This venture will allow New Jersey-based artists to perform in shows together all over the state as well as enable them to create collective albums under the label BMI.
When asked their preference on underground basement shows versus a regular venue, they all feel that the freedom of a basement show is much more enjoyable. There is a younger audience, which makes the event more intimate and “badass.”
Modern Chemistry can often be found performing at Court Tavern in New Brunswick. You can download their first EP for free at modernchemistry.bandcamp.com. Or you can like them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/modernchemistryrock.
Monsters vs Aliens
Nick Bene (Bass, Vocals), Chris Weisbecker (Guitar, Vocals), and Silvio Capoferri (Drums) make up the hardcore band Monsters vs Aliens who formed four years ago in high school. Creating music is something that the band mostly does for fun. Vocalist Chris likes to “stay realistic” and think of the band as somewhat of a hobby. However, they have created an EP for their fans to listen to. The band also hopes to become part of a summer tour sometime in the near future.
For Monsters vs Aliens, Friday was their first underground show experience. They had played in larger and more open venues, but after performing their first basement show they all agreed that they “like the basement scene because you’re more eye level with the crowd, and it’s a little more free.” When asked specifically about the basement scene at Rutgers, Vocalist Nick said “most of the underground scene at Rutgers is more indie, which isn’t my style, I like more hardcore music. “ This is proven through their first EP which is available at http://monstersvsaliens.bandcamp.com/. You can also check them out on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Monsters-vs-Aliens/159812794077276.
Both featured performances took place at The Bomb Shelter, an underground venue here at Rutgers. For booking and other inquiries you can contact Brian at firstname.lastname@example.org. All action shots were done by Ryan Halbe (email@example.com) and Khermesh Badushov (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Moral of the story: next time you’re getting bored with your repetitive weekend routine, think outside the box, try something new, and check out what’s going on in your neighbors basement.
Marisa Flacks and Lea Drumm