Cycle Of Pain / Black Water Rising @ The Brighton Bar

LONG BRANCH, NJ—I’ve been writing North Jersey Notes for almost nine years now, which I still find pretty nutty, but when a show with a lineup like this comes to the Jersey Shore, you can bet your ass that I was going to be there! The Brighton Bar in Long Branch, NJ, recently hosted a night of three of NYC’s biggest rock acts in Black Water Rising, Killcode, and Diablo Royale, while the night ended with New Jersey’s own Cycle Of Pain featuring J.D. DeServio from Black Label Society. How can anyone who loves local rock music miss this show?

I walked into a jam packed Brighton Bar only to catch the last few songs from my brothers, Diablo Royale, and no guitarist Eric Choy and I are not related, but we are bros! Everyone asked me that night if we were cousins. Anyway, these guys have come a long way from when my band Hostel Inc. used to do shows with them. Their energy level has been turned up to 11 and their songwriting has gotten much better. It sounds as if they’ve found their niche. I got the chance to hear my favorite song, “Greedy Dogs,” (Diablo Royale’s CD title track), “Promised Land,” “Don’t Mind Me,” and “Remedy.” I have to say that singer Adrian Barrios still sounds amazing live. I love this kid’s voice. He reminds me of the late Ray Gillen or even Chris Cornell. Yes, he’s that good! Also, the new bassist, Pete, definitely fits the band, and guitarist G-Man and drummer Mike Sankari say that they couldn’t be happier with him!

The next band to come on was Killcode, which featured Tom and Chas from Dirty Rig and Pat from Slunt. My old band, Hostel Inc., also played with these guys for their debut show at NYC’s Don Hill’s a couple of years ago. This night they sounded like a much tighter and well-oiled machine, as they ripped through songs like “Lita,” my favorite song, “6 A.M. Again,” and “Truce,” while also performing some of their new songs like “Hammer” and “Liberated.” Killcode even tore through an impromptu version of Jane’s Addiction’s “Mountain Song” when Chas had to fix a broken string. The musicianship in this band is truly amazing, and if you read my column every week, you know that these guys have been busy recording new material too!

Up third for this already rocking evening were my brothers from Black Water Rising! I was playing shows with these guys since I was still in Smoke Star and even played more shows with them in Hostel Inc. Not to mention, I’ve seen them play many times outside of performing shows with them. They are a great band all around and it’s no wonder they are receiving the notoriety that they are getting today. First, their hit song “Brother Go On” became a MySpace and Sirius/XM hit, then they signed a deal to finally release their self-titled debut CD, which debuted in the Top 25 on, and now they are just rocking it across America in support of their debut CD. Black Water Rising would open their set with “The Mirror” and transition into my favorite track “Hate Machine” off of their CD. They would also please the crowd and play the song that everyone came to hear, “Brother Go On.” Singer Robbie Traynor and the boys would also debut a couple of new songs in “We Are The Authority” and “Last Man Standing,” which the crowd seemed to really dig. Black Water Rising would end their set strong with “Burn It Down,” another one of my favorites, “Living Proof” and “Rise.” And of course, no Black Water Rising show would be complete without a Jose Hernandez from “Oz” sighting or a visit from WDHA “Metal Show” host Scott “Evil.” If you haven’t seen Robbie, Johnny Fatts, Odie, and Mikey Dreads from Black Water Rising live yet, what the hell are you waiting for?

Batting clean-up on this grand slam hard rock event was New Jersey’s own Cycle Of Pain featuring J.D. DeServio from Black Label Society. I’ve never seen Cycle Of Pain live before, but I’ve seen J.D. perform many times with B.L.S. and have even met him a few times before at a few Aarius Studio events. As a bass player, I love watching him play, and this time I get to see him perform with musicians that he performed with when he was 15-years-old like singer Gregg Locascio and guitarist Joe Taylor. The C.O.P. boys hit the still very packed Brighton Bar hard opening their set with my favorite track off of their CD, “Five.” The song was even better live! Cycle Of Pain would tear through songs like “Dead Man Walking,” “14 Devils,” and “Do My Work.” When I went outside to get some air, I think that I even heard a tribute to the late Ronnie James Dio with a rendition of “Holy Diver.”

This was a great night of local rock, and a great lineup put together by the Brighton Bar and Rock Machine. For anyone who missed this show, you have no idea what you missed! The night was filled with bikers, hot chicks, and a solid lineup of great rock ‘n’ roll! It was something that I haven’t seen in the NJ music scene in quite some time, but leave it to the boys from Black Water Rising to find a great bill to jump on!