Monthly Archives: March 2016

A Collective Bond

Pictured L-R: Ambrose Tardive, Dan Green, Matt Wester, Kevin Takach

About a mile from the Delaware River sits an old warehouse on Phillipsburg’s Stockton Street. It was once abandoned, until five friends used the space to turn a dream into a reality.

The dream? Create a full-blown, DIY music venue to provide a great time for local bands and music fans alike. The venue? Warhouse Collective.

Lehigh Valley Underground sat down this week with Dan Green, Matt Wester, Kevin Takach, and Ambrose Tardive, four of the five founders of Warhouse Collective. One can quickly garner from a single conversation with the group that this is a team effort – one that has taken much planning, ambition and action from each member.

The idea of launching a live music venue in a once venue-rich area has rolled around in their minds for some time.

“We’ve had endless conversations about doing something cool,” Tardive said. “We knew we couldn’t keep sitting on the porch talking about it, which we did for the longest time.”

Added Takach, “We’ve had so many ideas – bars, restaurants. This is something that’s a mutual love.”

It wasn’t until returning from a trip to The Fest in Florida that Tardive and company were inspired to act.

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An empty warehouse has transformed into a unique place for local bands to play.

“I was pumped up. I was thinking about starting a label, but we were looking at the numbers on getting vinyl printed, and there’s just not a lot of return on it,” Tardive said. “That quickly evolved into ‘Why don’t we just open a DIY space?’ I was looking at places online. We talked to the landlord, he showed us the space, we set up a tester show in January, and here we are.”

Warhouse Collective is a refreshing addition to a music scene in desperate need of a flagship venue since the closing of venues like Kate’s Kafé, which typically showcased young talent from in and around Phillipsburg until its closing several years ago.

“My father used to take me to Kate’s Kafé when I was 13 or 14. It just blew my mind to see all these bands, week to week,” Green said. “I would always be there. Since the two (venues) around here closed down, we want to be another one to throw our hat in the ring,”

Working Together
It’s fortunate that there are so many people involved,” Green said. “When one person takes care of one thing, somebody is taking care of another.”

Adds Wester, “We have a good system where, if there’s a list of thing to do, we’ll take a D20 die, roll it, and the lowest number has to handle that responsibility.”

Support from outside of the group has also been instrumental in the early success of Warhouse Collective. The group has received advice and help from folks like well-known underground New Jersey rocker Rocky Catanese, as well as support from a host of local musicians whom they call friends.

We’re lucky that, in the immediate area, we know so many bands,” Tardive said. “We’re buddies with a lot of the bands in the area already, so it’s easy to get them to play and get stoked about it. They see our enthusiasm to give them the kick they need.”

Causing a Scene
“We’re kind of like Nucky Thompson from Boardwalk Empire. We’re trying to fight off the forces of New York and Philly, who are swallowing up all the cool bands, and we’re all really weird looking,” Tardive joked, before elaborating. “The bands that all of us like to go to see – there’s always a place or two in Jersey when they get booked, but more often or not, you’re going to have to drive to Philly or Brooklyn.”

While bands are unlikely to discontinue making stops in large cities, there is still plenty of opportunity for venues like Warhouse Collective to turn the Lehigh Valley into another important tour stop for both up-and-coming and established acts.

“I’d like us to become a hub,” Wester said. “It’s a slow start for now, getting our name out there and getting the younger generation involved. Mostly, the people coming are our friends and extensions of their friends. We want this to be a place for the up-and-coming generation, their bands, and their music.”

Making Warhouse Collective – and the Valley in general – a must-stop tour destination can take the necessity out of traveling to nearby major cities to see can’t-miss shows – a notion that is not lost on the group.

“There’s kind of a selfish element, too,” Takach said. “Rather than driving to see these bands, they can just come to us. It’s like we’re fishing with a really big, 4,000 square foot net.”

Rising to the Challenge
As with any new venture, the group has encountered learning experiences throughout the early stages of Warhouse Collective. These challenges vary in range and are typical concerns of any upstart venue

“Not ever owning a business or having any knowledge of it (gives us a challenge),” Wester noted. “In the conversations, it’s ‘Oh, let’s do it,’ but we don’t think that we need insurance, a fire inspector, or any of the logistics.”

“It’s a balance, because we don’t want to be too by the book. We’re kind of fast and loose as a group anyway, but we need insurance for the space,” Tardive added.  “The fact that we want to do it ourselves means we have to get the insurance, the business license, and all of that stuff.”

The group has also had to adjust on the fly to technical issues – during one show, the middle band of a five-band set kept blowing a fuse, so the group reinforced the venue’s power supply the following week – as well as scheduling conflicts with artists.

“We’ve had two shows, and two bands have dropped at the last minute,” Tardive said. “The first show, it was literally four hours before the show. Luckily, our buddies who were going to be at the show anyway jumped on.”

Constant Hustle
Now that the group has a live music space to call its own, keeping it as active and full as possible is a priority for the Collective.

“Since we’re putting our money into this space, we want to host as many shows as possible,” Tardive said. “We’re just trying to stay busy and bring in as many cool bands as we can.”

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All upcoming shows are listed inside the venue on the Warhouse Collective’s big board.

That won’t be a problem tonight, for starters, when Sing, Bird of Prey, VoirVoir and Handheld come to town. Admission is $5, and doors open at 6 p.m.

“Handheld is super dope. They’re a nice, up-and-coming indie punk band,” Tardive said. “VoirVoir is taking this area by storm. They opened for the Flaming Lips at Musikfest and played SXSW. Sing, Bird of Prey is really good. They just put out a new single. It’s going to be a nice indie rock type of evening.”

Another big show on the horizon at the venue will take place on Sunday, April 10. That’s when Tender Defender, Pass Away, Trophy Lungs and MakeWar will descend on Phillipsburg.

“April 10 is our dream lineup,” Tardive said. “The fact that we have that two months in is insane.”

No matter the lineup, the guys at Warhouse Collective can come away after each show knowing that their labor of love is finally beginning to pay off.

“Knowing that this is here and, at the end of the night, knowing we did this is very rewarding,” Takach said.

BONUS VIDEO: The Wayside Shakeup Performs ‘Stay Up’

Many of us on the music scene can relate to a song like The Wayside Shakeup’s “Stay Up.” We’re often out late, doing what we love, meanwhile someone waits patiently (or impatiently) at home for us to finish for the evening. As someone who had a special lady waiting for me as I attended the band’s show at MilkBoy last Friday, this song certainly speaks to me.

Naturally, then, you can imagine my excitement when they transitioned into the new single during their set. I was so taken in by the moment that I just had to hit record!

Consider this just a sample of the band’s great live show, which you need to make sure you see if you haven’t yet. They’re as tight a band as you’ll hear on the indie scene and, as an added bonus, they’re super cool to work with!

PHOTOS: Quadraplay and Aniqatia at The Originals Music Series

A blockbuster holiday weekend of music around the Valley began last night at Chicago Restaurant’s Club Gravity, where Quadraplay and Aniqatia rocked a packed house as part of The Originals Music Series, presented every week by The Fyre & Ice Show.

In case you weren’t one of the many in attendance, we can hook you up with the view from the audience. Enjoy some photos, courtesy of Lehigh Valley Underground!

QSLehighValley: Mar. 24, 2016

This week, QSLehighValley gains the distinction of hosting Michael Meade’s first-ever podcast interview! Michael is a singer-songwriter from nearby Bucks County, and he telsl us about his musical history, his teaching endeavors, and his debut album, “Everyday Man.”

Track listing:
REVEL 9 – All I’ve Become (Opening theme)
Julius – Sunlit Day
Michael Meade – Never Grow Up
Michael Meade – Everyday Man
Marc Ambrosia – Take Good Care of Me
Rofo Audio – Hushed
JingerKroa – Sicko
Threatpoint – Careful What You Wish For

Review: Michael Meade – Everyday Man

Michael Meade joins QSLehighValley tomorrow for his first-ever podcast interview! Catch it on SoundCloud, iTunes, and right here on Lehigh Valley Underground!

Artist: Michael Meade
Album: Everyday Man (LISTEN)
Released: Jan. 18, 2016
Genre: Acoustic Rock/Country/Americana

With a wisdom behind his lyrics and a sound so definitive, it’s hard to believe that “Everyday Man” is Michael Meade’s first original album. Indeed, the long-time cover artist and music instructor joins the original music party with an effort containing the prowess of a veteran songwriter.

Having a sense of satisfaction about one’s place in the world is a recurring theme on “Everyday Man.” On the album’s title track, Meade claims his own imperfections with a sense of comfort that comes with life experience. Meanwhile, the spiritual, perspective-laden “Relevant” visits the walk-on-eggshells mentality that society is often forced to adopt, a theme which is revisited on the bluesy “Never Grow Up,” where Meade proclaims his philosophy to “live life on (his) own terms.”

“Everyday Man” features sweet ballads alongside fun, down-to-earth mid-tempo rock and country tunes. The eight-track offering is tied together with Meade’s powerful, soulful voice and profound worldview, and is a great first offering from an artist with a lot to say.

Artist Q&A: JingerKroa

JingerKroa is one of the most exciting rock bands to come out of the Lehigh Valley in recent memory. Learn about their history, and the exciting summer that lies ahead!

As a starting point, tell us how JingerKroa began and what you guys were doing beforehand.
JingerKroa was originally formed in 2011 by J.Goth, Mike and HillBilly. Each member has a background in several previous bands, but the common thread that eventually united us was a mutual dedication to playing original music, and a need to step outside of commonly drawn genre boundaries to create something that was uniquely our own. We didn’t want to just sound like “another rock band.” We wanted to be different; to be way out there and stand out in a crowd.

Unkl Nicky later joined the threesome, completing the band and sealing the deal. It was at this point that the energy in the band flowed naturally, and we went with the natural flow. The band finally was, after transitional periods, complete as JingerKroa.

Your influences are varied and come from just about every point on the rock spectrum. Who are some of the biggest ones?
Part of what gives JingerKroa our unique style is the diversity in our musical palates. Yet, we share a common thread in musical likes. As a team, we are rockers – no doubt about it. Some of the top guns for us are Pantera, Steve Vai, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Korn, Frank Zappa, Tool, Rammstein and Depeche Mode. We can go on forever here. There’s so much amazing musical talent that we have been inspired by.

How does it all mesh together to give JingerKroa its unique sound?
We couldn’t even tell you! (laughs) It’s magic. It really is. In an instant upon our union, the music flowed. The writing process and creativity comes naturally and effortlessly. I guess you can say we are really lucky when it comes to this. But then again, it all has to do with the energy of the people in the band. It just works and always comes together. The best way to explain it is like making a pot of soup. You put all of the right ingredients in, and it comes out tasting great. I guess you can say we are the vegetables meshing together. Wait, that really doesn’t sound good. (laughs)

Your touring history is already extensive, having toured with the likes of Powerman 5000 and venturing as far south and west as Texas. What do you attribute to your touring success?
It’s our passion, love of playing music, dedication to our fans, and desire to please them with our music. Without our fans, we are nothing. They fuel our desire and are what keeps us moving forward with stealth speed. Mix this into our love of what we do, and it’s a potion for success.

Tell us a great story from the road!
Oh, boy. Not sure we can talk about this! (laughs) Let’s just say, A LOT of crazy stuff has happened. People have added to a wide range of craziness. It’s all good. Maybe when we write our book, we will share some of those stories. (laughs)

The band has also performed at numerous charity gigs, including those for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the Wounded Veterans Annual Fundraiser and Dream Come True. Explain the importance of giving back.
You have to give back, especially to those in need. There are people who are hungry, homeless, lonely, and depressed.  It’s important for everyone to step forward and try and help personally or through a good cause. We love to help others, and always get called to perform for organizations. There is no better feeling than knowing you helped someone achieve the first step toward a better future.

You guys are currently working on new music, which is expected later this year. How far along is the project, and what can listeners expect when it hits?
Our album is expected to be released in the summer of 2016. As of now, Unkl Nicky is finishing laying down the guitar tracks. HillBilly is up next, with J.Goth finishing on vocals. We are almost there.

Listeners can expect diverse, high-energy, meaningful, personal music with a twist of lunacy and a smidge of “sickness.” You always have to have a little “sickness” in the mix.

Do you guys have any shows coming up?
You bet! April 1, we are headlining at Dingbatz in Clifton, NJ with host Don Jamieson from VH1’s That Metal Show, sponsored by DAA Entertianment.

May 7, we are opening up for Buckcherry at the Sherman Theater in East Stroudsburg, PA.

August 6, we are at the Stanhope House in Stanhope, NJ for a two-day RockFest, sponsored by JarJam Entertainment.

We’ve reached the end! Tell us where people can learn more about you online.
You can find us on our website, on Facebook, and on Twitter. We’re also on ReverbNation and SoundCloud, but the best place to find all of our info is on our webpage. That will direct you to all of our sites.

Make sure to stay connected. We have a lot of exciting things coming up!

Can’t-Miss Shows of the Week: Mar. 21-27

We’re totally pumped to check that place out!

While we endure winter’s last breath, we gear up for a spring full of great music and possibilities. This week, we even cross the Delaware back to my home state of New Jersey. Let’s get it started! Here are the…

Can’t-Miss Shows of the Week!

Thurs., Mar. 24 | 7 p.m.
The Originals Music Series
Venue: Chicago Restaurant, 1179 Airport Road, Allentown, PA
Admission: FREE
Description: Blazing instrumentals are the focus as The Fyre and Ice Show welcomes Aniqatia and Quadraplay to the Club Gravity stage.

Fri., Mar. 25 | 9 p.m.
KILLCODE with Autoerotica and Vegafuse
Venue: The Gin Mill & Grille, 1750 Main St., Northampton, PA
Admission: $8
Description: Get ready to rock! Local bands Autoerotica and Vegafuse are joined by the headlining New York-based hard rockers.

Sat., Mar. 26 | 6 p.m.
Sing, Bird of Prey; VoirVoir; and Handheld
Venue: Warhouse Collective, 224 Stockton St., Phillipsburg, NJ
Admission: $5
Description: The upstart venue hosts a trio of Lehigh Valley bands, fresh off of VoirVoir’s appearance at South by Southwest.

The Quinn Spinn: Mar. 21, 2016

We’re going country on today’s edition of The Quinn Spinn as we welcome special guest and Season 6 contestant on NBC’s The Voice, Audra McLaughlin. Audra joins us to talk about her experience on the show, her anti-bullying efforts, new music and more!

Track listing:
REVEL 9 – All I’ve Become (Opening theme)
John Scargall – Two Face Factory
Meghan Cary – Sing Louder
Audra McLaughlin – Tennessee Cowboy
Audra McLaughlin – You Lie (Reba McIntire cover)
Michael Meade – I Don’t Mind
Gene P. Kelly – High Life
The Stunt People – Carried Away

Meet Tomorrow’s Quinn Spinn Guest, Audra McLaughlin

On tomorrow’s edition of The Quinn Spinn (to be made available on SoundCloud, iTunes, and right here on Lehigh Valley Underground), we welcome country singer Audra McLaughlin. Audra hails from nearby Delaware County, and you might recognize her from Season 6 of NBC’s hit singing competition, The Voice.

Hearing Audra’s story about finding her voice as a local artist and coming into her own on a national stage is an inspiration. It’s also a testament to the hard work that goes into succeeding as a musician, and the perseverance required to break down personal barriers.

Audra’s talent and drive has given her a platform to help others on a large scale. She does this alongside an anti-bullying non-profit called Free2Luv. As anyone who saw her on The Voice would know, bullying is an important cause to Audra, and you’ll hear her talk more about what she’s doing to help victims of bullying on tomorrow’s episode.

In the meantime, please treat yourself to her new single, “Tennessee Cowboy.”

BONUS VIDEO: Crossroads Duo at The Originals Music Series

Crossroads Duo and Dave Goddess Group once again brought good music and good times to Chicago Restaurant’s Club Gravity on Thursday night as part of The Originals Music Series. It was the latter’s “Beautiful World” release party.

But, before we got to the new Dave Goddess tunes, we had some top-notch acoustic blues to enjoy from the opening Crossroads Duo. Enjoy this clip, and watch out for more to come from this great weekend of live music.

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