Maria Mar’s Local Radar: The Obvious

Locals, we meet again. We have already put quite a dent into March, my how time is flying past! I must say that I’m happy, as this means the weather is getting warmer, some outside shows are slowly but surely creeping in, and tons of national acts will be cruising through our area again! I got a bunch of good feedback on last week’s article featuring some young bands, and I found out that you guys are diggin’ the new tunes from Graviteer and are wholly in love with the lovely Tara Elliott. I am so glad that the Radar is bringing new musicians into your lives, for after all, that is what I am here for! We are blessed enough to be able to reside in New Jersey; I know some of you may digress, but it does have some solid benefits on the musical front. We are lucky to be able to have local groups get up on stage and do whatever they want. This allows them to share their thirst, show off their aptitudes, and maybe even encourage some of us who may not be confident enough to get back there to start our own acts.

This may sound trivial, but some local groups have as much of a following as any so-called “famed” one. I find out about a lot of local bands through others’ shows. There is an important lesson to be learned here in that if you aren’t making friends with other bands in your town, you probably should start. A solid, successful music scene is based on a bunch of groups that help drive interest in local music. It’s somewhat like a musical support group; you go to their shows, they come to yours, friends join in, word starts spreading, and it’s an undeniable positive cycle. On that note, let us get back on track. This week, I am not going to stick to a theme of any sorts, for I am just going to write about the trend that is solid—local music. I want to discuss a band that I have seen live and fell in love with, whom I actually met at another band’s show.

You may have heard of The Obvious before, for they have played many venues and gained many fans. They are alternative with a mix of punk rock in its glory, earning a solid name for themselves in the scene. They recorded their first EP with Pete Steinkopf of The Bouncing Souls, and it’s ironic because the first time I heard this band, I pictured them opening up for the Souls. Not only do they have a powerful female on lead vocals, but the guitar riffs are awesome; I haven’t heard anything like this since the early ‘90s.

The Obvious consists of Surojanie, Daniel, Mike, and Rob. Surojanie brings vicious leads to a whole new level. She clearly plays by the rule of giving the crowd a show while connecting with them at the same time. She dominates my brain, somewhat like a young Gwen Stefani or a modern day rock ‘n’ roll Pat Benatar. I mean this wholly, for I would never just throw those icons around in conversation, but she is stepping up to the plate. I am a firm believer that if you want to make a living as a musician in an age of free downloads and music sharing, live performance is one area of music industry growth, and you can’t copy the experience of a once in a lifetime live performance. I saw them play with Lost In Society at the Asbury Lanes, and that was one of those memorable shows.

A large portion of what makes The Obvious’ live set so great was that the experience had only a percentage to do with the live music itself. What I mean by this is that it had more to do with the environment surrounding the actual stage. The crowd was so into it, new fans were being made by the second, and their energy throughout the room is contagious. I could see people in the crowd conversing, and then buying their merchandise and material. I found it extremely entertaining how immediately after the show, I had people writing on my Jersey Rock page that I needed to check them out. I highly suggest you explore The Obvious sooner than later. The most obvious reason—no pun intended there at all—is because of how awesome they are! Honestly, who doesn’t love stumbling across a local band that they will fall head over heals in love with, having the capability to see them over and over, and not having to pay ticket fees out the rear to do so? Some of their noted influences include The Thermals, The Breeders, Nirvana, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Clash and The Pixies. Be sure to check out their social pages to see when they’re devouring a venue near you.

So there you have it, another local act that has left a huge impact on me in more ways than one. The Obvious are just one of the hundreds of groups that you can get out to see, buy their music, and support the art of purely loving and enjoying what you do. They are original in sound, genre, style, range, and pretty much anything you can be original at. They own it, and I cannot wait for you all to put down this article—when you have finished reading it, of course—and check them out! They are very active on social media, never asking fans to do anything or requiring people to vote for them or anything along those lines (not that anything is wrong with that), but they keep us entertained with their witty humor and interactive status.

The phrase “support local music” is one that I hear quite often, and even tend to over abuse, but it’s because I want you all to understand the importance of it. People who say those words need to back it up with actions, for just like they say, it speaks better than words. I hear it when new bands are trying to get the word out, established acts are promoting shows and keeping their current fanbase entertained, and from club owners, columnist, journalists, and radio DJs like myself. It’s a phrase that will never go away, at least around here, and I will do everything in my power to keep it that way. Until next week, when I bring some more bands and musicians to your attention, get out to a show, find a new group to support, tell me all about it, and spread the word to your friends!