Add to Calendar20231221 18:0020231221 23:59:00America/New_YorkMidtownDoors open at 6:00 PM. More show details at: https://wellmonttheater.com/shows/midtown/The Wellmont Theater, 5 Seymour St, Montclair, NJ 07042
Emocore outfit Piebald formed in 1994 when vocalist/guitarist Travis Shettel, guitarist Aaron Stuart, bassist Andrew Bonner and drummer Jon Sullivan were still high school students in suburban Andover, MA. Sullivan left a few years later; Alex Garcia Rivera stepped in before the band ultimately settled down with Luke Garro behind the kit. Quickly becoming a staple of the Boston-area indie circuit, Piebald released their first album, When Life Hands You Lemons, in 1997 via Hydra Head Records. They followed up two years later with If It Weren’t for Venetian Blinds It Would Be Curtains for Us All, which further presented the band’s lighthearted spin on typical emo values, offering such song titles as “Fat and Skinny Asses.” The EP The Rock Revolution Will Not Be Televised appeared in 2000 before Piebald amicably split to focus on life outside the band.
The following year, Boston-based imprint Big Wheel Recreation released the dual-disc retrospective Barely Legal/All Ages, which collected shaky recordings from their high school days all the way up through their 1997 debut; the set also included all of Piebald’s early 7″ EPs, some demos, live cuts (including a blistering cover of the Beatles‘ “I Saw Her Standing There”), and out-of-print tracks. During the break, Shettel also put out a solo record under the appropriate project name of Totally Travis. The band’s separation didn’t last long, however; Piebald announced their return in 2002 with We Are the Only Friends We Have, a fun-yet-mature album that was quickly embraced by fans and critics alike. A single from that album, “American Hearts,” saw minor success on MTV and was even sampled a few years later by MC Lars on his emo-laptop-rap “iGeneration.” It was a year of unprecedented good fortune for the band, but things took a turn for the worse when Shettel had to undergo throat surgery. Shettel’s health problems resulted in the cancellation of a string of live shows (opening up for Dashboard Confessional, no less), but the band wasn’t down for long. Shettel healed up in a few months’ time, and Piebald headed back out on the road to headline with bands like My Chemical Romance, Minus the Bear, and Fairweather in tow. By early 2004, Piebald had inked a deal with Cali-based indie label SideOneDummy, and their next album, All Ears, All Eyes, All the Time, came out that May. Late in the next year, while the band toured with Hot Rod Circuit in their new environmentally friendly, vegetable oil powered van, the CD/DVD B-sides collection Killa Bros and Killa Bees was issued. Piebald’s next proper full-length, Accidental Gentlemen, hit stores in January 2007. ~ Erik Hage, Rovi
New Jersey’s Houston Calls officially appeared on the pop-punk scene in August 2005 with their full-length debut, A Collection of Short Stories. Comprised of ex-Face First members vocalist/guitarist Tom “Chitty” Keiger, bassist Jarrett Seltzer, and keyboardist/vocalist Okie Okamoto, the group also included guitarist Kenny Ryan (ex-Hidden in Plain View) and drummer Josh Grigsby (ex-Riding Bikes, who replaced original skinsman Tommy Clayton). Their bright and sunny album was released on Rushmore, an imprint of Drive-Thru Records. Tour dates in support of the record were played through the end of the year with bands like Fenix TX, Socratic, Hellogoodbye, and the Rocket Summer. Almost nonstop touring continued throughout 2006. Late that year, Ryan left the band and was replaced on guitar by Jose Lopez. ~ Corey Apar, Rovi
Save Face are a band who have always prided themselves on taking risks and the New Jersey band have doubled down on that sentiment with their sophomore album, Another Kill For The Highlight Reel. In that spirit, the follow-up to 2018’s debut Merci sees the band mastermind Tyler Povanda taking his songwriting, lyrics and conceptual skills to the next level to create an album that’s more interested in building worlds than adhering to genre conventions. While the songs’ inspiration is firmly rooted in the screamo/post-hardcore scene that was so pivotal for Povanda, the album also features piano, full string sections and horns he arranged himself. “As soon as I started working on [recording software] Logic, it opened my mind to all of these different sounds and I just started putting everything in there,” he says of his creative process. “I just trusted myself and kept going deeper with every song.”
That said, there is nothing artificial about Another Kill For The Highlight Reel, which features indelibly human performances, including a guest appearance from Thursday’s Geoff Rickly on “A.M. Gothic”. “There’s something about the New Jersey kinship [between Geoff and I] that really resonates with me,” Povanda explains. “New Jersey’s music scene is really something special.” However, Povanda is quick to point out that Rickly’s understated performance on the album isn’t intended to be a marketing bulletpoint.
Formed in November 1998 by three Rutgers students, Midtown soon became an energetic quartet comprised of Gabe Saporta (later known for Cobra Starship), Rob Hitt, Tyler Rann, and Heath Saraceno. Taking advantage of the fertile New Jersey punk scene – Midtown developed a unique sound that combined elements of emo and hardcore. First disbanding in 2005, Midtown reunited in 2022 as openers for My Chemical Romance and recently released an EP of covers aptly named We’re Too Old To Write New Songs, So Here’s Some Old Songs We Didn’t Write.