MONTCLAIR, NJ—As I made my way down the stairs, the smell of stale cigarettes and booze assailed my nostrils. The Meatlocker is a reminder of what basement shows should be; a cheap dirty place where anything goes. This particular night there was a benefit show for a young man named Michael Rubinstein who recently passed away. On the bill for the evening was Washington Square Park, Those Mockingbirds, Maker, A Fire With Friends and Le Le Low. After Le Le Low performed an amazing cover of “Young Folks” by Peter Bjorn and John, I wasn’t sure what else to expect.
Scranton, PA natives, A Fire With Friends cramped up the stage with all of their equipment. And the seven-piece surprised me with how well they orchestrated their music, with two percussionists, a pianst, a synth player, two guitarits and a bass player. I would describe them as a blend of Arcade Fire and The Beatles.
Following them was Those Mockingbirds, a band who are no stranger to the venue, being that there are from Montclair. The band played a few songs off of their debut EP No Symmetry as well as some new tracks. Also on the set list for the evening was their cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain,” which the band released back around Christmas on their website as a free download. Despite fans singing along to the songs, they also heckled frontman Adam Bird, asking him to play “Freebird,” pointing out the pun on his last name as well as the band’s name.
Those Mockingbirds also played “Coast To Coast” a track which they debuted at the venue over the summer. They had all those in attendance singing and moving along with the music. The energy that is being emanated from each of their members is contagious. The presence this band brings to any venue is one that cannot be described, you simply must see them for yourself.
After Those Mockingbirds, Maker began to set up. The five-piece pop punk band, who has a sound much like New Found Glory with a touch of Say Anything, really went crazy and their set matched each of the bands who played before them. A small mosh pit even broke out.
Following Maker, Washington Square Park, another band familiar with Meatlocker, closed out the show. This band is clearly a local favorite seeing how many of the times I’ve been to the Meatlocker, they are on the bill. With a sound that is extremely similar to Blink 182, I can see how this band is making their way through the local circuit.