Maria Mar’s Local Radar: The Perfect Gentleman, James Arlowe And The Ruffian Circus, & Going Dark

Locals! It’s about that time. Summer is winding down, bands are planning out shows for the fall, and we can finally reclaim our turf! My inbox has been flooded with interest in many of the bands we have been featuring here, so I have to say, I am glad you are all on board. Everything you do locally can be a stepping stone for something bigger. Follow that trail to opportunities beyond the local scene. If you’ve got a good local following, try a gig swap to start working on a new audience. If you ever have any suggestions on some music I need to know about, feel free to share as well! Go see bands you like, love, and have never seen before. The significant thing is that you get out and see the shows. That is the number one way you can show your support for the bands, the music, and the scene. If there are no rumps in the seats (or barstools), then there is no reason for venues to stay open and book bands! Music experimentation can have some trials and errors before success comes, so we might as well test is out live here at Maria Mar’s Local Radar! So on that note, let us dabble in some bands that are hot, fresh, original, and all over the local scene.

Let’s kick it off right with a pop rock sensation by the name of The Perfect Gentleman. The band was formed last year by singer-songwriter Matt Manisero. After being kicked out of a group he started in the past, he was motivated to start a new project. What started as a something small has warped into something greater than he ever imagined. They play consistently to a solid fanbase and were even on the Bamboozle 2012 lineup. I recently featured these guys on my show and got so much feedback. Do you like generally upbeat, catchy pop songs guaranteed to make you tap your feet? If so, you will like these dudes. The band definitely has talent, and possibly a big future, and there’s plenty to enjoy here. Their EP, Live To Love, can currently be purchased on iTunes. Check it out. It’s compacted with solid progressions along with vocal and guitar hooks by the bulk load and even some fun lyrical twists made for a smooth digestion. It’s highly melodic and also shows off a set of emotional, but not too emotional, lyrics. The boys are in hopes to begin recording a full-length in the near future, and I am looking forward to going along for the ride.

Next, let us dip into the sauce of a four-piece, folk, soul, and rock and roll group called James Arlowe And The Ruffian Circus. Hailing from Freehold, James, Mark, Mike, and Andrew compose the perfect recipe for success. This is not some emo or hardcore flavor of the week, oh no. They are all about rock—classic rock to be precise. What a diamond in the rough this turned out to be! There are wailing vocals by James and the kind of rugged, furious exuberance that’s been the hallmark of dozens of bands in the last few years. To compare these guys to anyone else would be a crime, for they are extremely original in their own right. Their live set leaves you entertained the entire time, forcing you to sing along—even if you are mumbling pretending you know the words. For a bunch of guys who have all been in different bands, this seems quite well put-together. They’ve developed an attentive and well-delivered sound, and don’t skimp on quantity. Their debut full-length, Insignificant Fire is a near seamless rock record that is sequenced luminously, with excellent flow from track to track. From top to bottom, inside and out, this is a masterful record with exceptional production. James Arlowe And The Ruffian Circus truly unlocked my ears and turned me on to real rock again. There isn’t enough great rock like this nowadays and that’s a disgrace. I’m all in favor of the digital age, for in this business you must embrace change, but it has had an unsettling effect on the music establishment and too few new artists are rising to the top. These guys, however, may change that. Check them out.

Last but not least, one of the youngest bands I have ever worked with, Going Dark. The three-piece has done more in their short careers than many have in their whole existence. They eat, sleep, and breathe music, and are never going to stop until they get to the top. I don’t think they could even if they tried because after getting to know them, it’s embedded in their blood. Going Dark are comprised of lead singer and bassist Oliver Shaw, guitarist LJ Militello, and drummer Alex Fogg. They have played The Bamboozle Festival, performed on national television networks, played with acts such as Sebastian Bach and Big Time Rush, and so much more. These guys are bound to be the next heart-throbbing sensation. Upon having them in the studio, I was blown away when they cited their influences as being bands that a much older person would site. They truly are supporters of good, real music. Their positively bubbling energy throughout each live set is infectious and melodic. I even came up with a nickname for their consistent fanbase called “The Going Dark Army.” If you need to know what they sound like without taking a listen for yourself, their music is straight, on the rocks, classic rock with a modern coil. Many of their lyrics deal with current topics and are catchy as all hell. Recently, Going Dark announced that they signed with Prince Music Management. Stardom isn’t far for these three so long as they stay at it and stay relevant, which is a no-brainer for them. Pick up their full length CD, Play Your Game, and spin it until it breaks.

So there you have it. Three more bands that I truly feel deserve to be in the limelight and on your regular playlists. Do yourself a favor and check out these bands’ event schedules. In fact, check out all of the bands we talk about! We all enjoy a good song but a live show is a different beast. It’s got to hit you in the face because there’s nothing like it. I mean, you can’t get it from the records—you have to get it from a live show. That’s when that art form is really, really exciting. Until next week, my friends, grab a friend, a flyer, and some tickets. Support your scene!