Holiday Festival, Day Two @ Peace Christian Church

BOHEMIA, NY— With the Long Island scene coming back and Christmas less than one week away, it seemed fitting that there would be a charitable holiday show in the works, and that’s exactly what Holiday Festival 2010 was. The event was a two-day show in which proceeds were given to Angel Tree, an organization devoted to helping out children who will not be sharing the holidays with their parent or parents due to imprisonment. The majority of the bands playing that night were from the area, with Good Old War and Koji coming from Pennsylvania, but don’t think this was just any ordinary local show with a heavy hitter; all of the bands playing that night have made a name for themselves in the tri-state area.

There was Take One Car, a quartet from Millerton, NY, which had the crowd’s full attention with their heavy riffs and wild drumming. Lead vocalist Tyler Irish was able to capture an eerie feel with his voice, which he could also ramp up to a rough and aggressive sounding scream. Due to their eclectic mix of genres including post-rock and a bit of jazz, it’s difficult to categorize them.

The Republic Of Wolves played next, and although I have had chances to see them before, for some reason I never made it, something I regret. I am a big fan of group vocals and they killed it in that respect. Figuratively, in a good way of course.

Koji, a crowd favorite, is not only an artist but an activist who writes about love, loss and growing up. He was the only one-man acoustic performer, but had just as much respect and attention from the crowd as any other artist, possibly more. Starting off he asked everyone to not stand but sit around him as played in the middle of the crowd, hoping to create a bond with people. Towards the end of his set, he had taught the crowd his lyrics and had everyone singing along with him at the top of their lungs. His attitude had the crowd, including myself, mesmerized. He had captured the essence of what the show was about: helping others, spreading love and uniting people for a cause.

Long Island-natives Gabriel The Marine had an acoustic set that night also, but don’t for a second think it didn’t have the same amount of energy and power that they usually have. They mixed in some newer songs, which brought a rougher feel, while still having that soft-rock sound they’re known for. It’s refreshing to see a band play in their home area, I’ve only been able to see them in New Jersey for some bit, while in the past two week’s it’s been in Long Island and the response they get is significantly different. Basically, they need to come to New Jersey more.

Having recently played a free show in Philadelphia certainly did not hurt Good Old War’s turn out. They were the band-to-see, and it was made obvious by the amount of people watching them and singing along. They played favorites such as “Looking For Shelter,” “Coney Island” and “We’ve Come a Long Way,” while also letting Dan Schwatrz, their guitarist, choose the rest of the set. Their happy-go-lucky feel had the crowd enchanted and was able to end off the night perfectly.