North Jersey Notes: Set It Free, Black Water Rising, Murder League All-Stars and More!


I recently stumbled across this highly energetic band out of Brick, NJ. I didn’t find them on accident, however. I found them on the bill of the upcoming Scarlet Carson CD release party at the Starland Ballroom in Sayreville on Sept. 24. The name of the band is Set It Free, and they’re actually very good! Their sound is a modern, skater-pop sound, and they’re songs are very well written. I especially enjoyed the songs “Forget The Past,” “Everything In Motion” and “Home Alive,” which exhibited excellent guitar work by guitarists Joey DeAngelo and Mike Gurnari, and amazing vocals by singer Andrew Williams.

Set It Free formed back in 2010 when long time friends, singer Andrew Williams, guitarist Mike Gurnari and bassist Pat Dwyer’s old band, One False Move, split up. Shortly after, the trio started jamming with drummer Victor Pascale and guitarist Joey Gurnari, who were childhood buddies. Within 15-minutes, the five musicians knew that they’d created something special, which they now call Set It Free. The band recorded their first self-titled EP at the famed Trax East Studio in South River, NJ, which helped them lay down the foundation for their ever-growing fan base.

Set It Free continue to play all over the Tri-State area. They are currently back in the studio recording their first full-length CD, which has no title just yet. Their self-titled EP can still be purchased on iTunes, CDbaby and You can also check out Set It Free on or catch them live with Scarlet Carson at the Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, NJ, on Sept. 24.



I just received some incredible news from the Black Water Rising camp. It turns out, the band will be joining Texas Hippie Coalition and Kill Devil Hill, the new all-star band featuring drummer Vinny Appice (Heaven And Hell, Black Sabbath, Dio), bassist Rex Brown (Down, Pantera), guitarist Mark Zavon (Ratt, W.A.S.P., 40-Cycle Hum) and singer Jason “Dewey” Bragg (Pissing Razors), for a string of dates on their upcoming tour! If you haven’t heard Texas Hippie Coalition yet, you need to do yourself a favor and give them a listen, and don’t forget to check out Kill Devil Hill too while you’re at it. Also, if you haven’t picked up Black Water Rising’s self-titled debut CD yet, you can now do so for only $7.90 on

I recently got an unmixed copy of the debut CD from Murder League All Stars featuring former M.O.D. and Rhythm Trip head honcho Tim McMurtrie, and I am blown away! The CD is a great blend of hard rock riffs meets hip-hop! Tim and my boy Eddie Night, who used to sing for the band Ten Feet From Murder, really compliment each other’s vocal styles well. The songs that really stood out for me were the title track, “Murder League All Stars,” “Americanized” and “Most People Suck!” Check Murder League All Stars out now at, especially because my bro Big Dave is playing drums!

And finally, I know that it’s a couple of weeks old, but a couple of weeks ago, rock ‘n’ roll lost another soldier in former Warrant singer Jani Lane. Although, many won’t admit to being a Warrant fan, I for one, definitely loved Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich and Cherry Pie, as those tapes (yes, tapes) were in regular rotation in the Louie mobile back in the day. Just like I always hoped for a full-blown Skid Row reunion, I always hoped for a full-blown Warrant reunion, as well, but now that can’t happen anymore. It’s with great sadness that I have to write about another one of my fallen heroes, but I guess it’s just the nature of the business that is known for chewing you up and just spitting you out. Rest in peace, Jani Lane! You’ll forever be remembered with the great music that you left us!

That’s all for now! If your band is from North Jersey, and you want some exposure, send your press kits to Arts Weekly, c/o Tim Louie P.O. Box 1140, Little Falls, NJ 07424, or you can email me at, where you can also let me know where you’re performing next!

Just remember: We’re all in the same boat, so every little bit of exposure counts!


Tim Louie is the author of S**t Happens.


NJN Concert Calendar:

9/2—Charetta—The Legendary Dobbs, Philadelphia, PA

9/3—Tied in 2/Charetta/Dead Fish Handshake—The Saint, Asbury Park, NJ

9/4—Locked Together in Hatred—Knitting Factory Brooklyn, Brooklyn, NY

9/9—Borgo Pass—The Pennant East, Bellmawr, NJ

9/10—Murder League All Stars/Darkness Descends/HYNGD/Malicious Tendencies/Bluesfield Drive —Dingbatz, Clifton, NJ

9/16—Sundown Conspiracy/In Disguise/Voodoo Terror Tribe/Seas of Wake—The Meatlocker, Montclair, NJ

9/16—With Daggers Drawn/Angel Vivaldi/Ashes of Your Enemy/Atom Strange—Dingbatz, Clifton, NJ

9/17—Fuel/Hoodless/No More Pain—Starland Ballroom, Sayreville, NJ

9/17—IKILLYA/Demilitia/Ashes Within/Krystaleen—Dingbatz, Clifton, NJ

9/23—Boundalive—Dingbatz, Clifton, NJ

9/24—Scarlet Carson CD Release Party/Life Without Warning/The New Black/Jaded Faith/Dive/Set It Free—Starland Ballroom, Sayreville, NJ

9/24—Midnight Mosaic—Kenny’s Castaways, NYC

9/30—John Rango and Friends—Mexicali Live, Teaneck, NJ