Maria’s Local Radar: Illusionist

Got the Hump Day blues? Feel as if the work week will never end? Had enough and want to get out into the sunshine? Oh wait, sorry, this is a column, not my Facebook status! Let’s turn that frown upside down with some ear candy for you, shall we? It’s about that time where you and I, one on one, converse about some talent that is noteworthy, making a splash on the local music scene one venue at a time. The beauty of this column is it’s extremely diverse; one week I could talk about a reggae band or a cover act, the next week it could be hardcore metal, and then switch up completely with indie or alternative—you never know what you’re going to get! All I know is, I strive to keep it as fresh as possible, hitting all of the readers that have an eclectic and diverse taste in music.

This week, we are going to take it back to solid, heavy metal for everyone to enjoy while their heads are banging around. This is a band that I saw a few months back at The Saint in Asbury Park at a post-Skate And Surf party with my friends in Toothgrinder. Any band that they play a show with I usually become an instant fan of, because I know they have good taste in music. However, let’s not get off track. This band goes by the name of Illusionist, with the title alone leaving a lot to the imagination as to what they are about, where they’re from, and pretty much their story as a whole. I have yet to meet them, but after seeing their set and hearing their tunes, I know they deserve this column. So, let’s learn a little bit more about them and sing their praise.

Illusionist are a “noise” band, as they like to call themselves, from New Jersey with Danny Santos on vocals, Mark Ramirez on guitar, Sam Weingarten on bass and Dillon Sutton on drums. Now, naturally, after I saw their set, I did a little research on their social media pages, and I see that they play with a very diverse group of bands. I mean, honestly, if you are seeing a group for the first time and don’t know much about them, you always check them out when you get home, right? Is that just me? It’s a creature of habit for someone who wants to expand their library, so I guess it’s not a bad thing. However, I digress, but I do suggest you follow my lead. I always love that when bands support one another, for the scene would be a lot easier to maintain and control if we all just showed a little more support.

Anyway, a lot of the groups that they surround themselves with are doing big things, like opening for acts such as Between The Buried And Me, which means they are headed in the right direction. I also saw that they are very interactive with their fans, which is another sign that they are in this to win it. Hitting up venues everywhere from Brooklyn to Philadelphia to Asbury Park all within the same month, that is the way to do it. Hit the fans in the target markets on the East Coast, and gradually build the momentum from city to city. I highly recommend you check out their live set, since it’s full of energy and fun.

If you check out their Facebook page, you can find a live video they recently posted of a show of theirs from Brooklyn, and it will give you an idea of how awesome they really are. Their sound is different, whether you want to agree with me or not, and I feel that they find a certain way to make heavy music somewhat refined (no, not in a soft way, bros; don’t get it twisted, they’re hard). What I mean is, even though it’s very inventive and distinct, at times it can be chaotic then somewhat soothing. Their stylings are inspired by other bands in the best way possible, but they are also setting trends for many bands in the heavy New Jersey scene to follow. I guess you could say it’s destructive and beautiful all packed into one box.

From the very beginning of their tracks, you know you are in for a spectacular listening experience, whether you’re a fan of the genre or not (check out the song “Inertia” and you will see what I mean). The drumming is like bullets from a machine gun, heavy and clean. And, of course, one part I enjoy is that although they are screaming, I can still understand a lot of the lyrics! Come on, every girl likes to sing-along after all.

If you want an awesome band to add to your collection this summer, check out Illusionist. You can learn more about them on their Facebook page at Book a show with them and check out their music, since I am sure they would be more than happy to come to a town near you. Also, while you’re checking out their stuff, build up your discography by examining what bands they play with and support, for who knows, you could end up having a whole new plethora of talent at your fingertips. After all, they know what’s good in the genre, or they wouldn’t share it with you all!

I will be back next week with another local band of your liking. In the meantime, keep on sending those submissions over so I can hear what you have to offer! Sharing local music with the world, one week at a time—that’s what we do!