Maria’s Local Radar: Ivy League

Ah, Wednesday, my favorite part of the week. It’s about that time to talk local music and all that it entails. I must admit, I have been seeing a lot of artists supporting one another by going to each other’s shows, sharing music on social media, and even hopping on events that don’t necessarily make sense for them to be at. It’s a great feeling to be a part of a unified scene, because it isn’t always that way. As unfortunate as it is to say, a lot of artists are out there competing, when in reality, if everyone just helped one another out, the scene could be bigger and stronger than ever. However, I am not here to rant and rave about the unity of all of us, since I could be here all day. Instead, I am going to focus on a fresh young act that is just getting started that I feel needs a little push in the limelight.

I have seen this band perform live twice to a packed house, and their energy is contagious. Sure, they have only been a band for a few months, and you may or may not know who they are yet, which is okay. However, with where they are in their lives, if they continue at this project or are just doing it for fun, it works. I am talking about a group from Wall Township, New Jersey, that goes by the name of Ivy League.

The first time I saw Ivy League was at The Stone Pony in Asbury Park on a beautiful late summer afternoon. Nothing makes me happier than being able to be outside, enjoying live music in flip-flops with the people I love. They played a showcase with a ton of other bands, and I was shocked to see that they had brought over 100 people to come out to their first show. Not to have them pat themselves on the back, but they should, since that is almost unheard of for a first gig. It was great to see the vibes in the room of all of their friends and family enjoying their tunes, legitimately happy to be in that room.

Since their first show, they have had a few minor lineup changes, including a new singer, for many of them are on their way to venture to college (which is great). It’s great to see our youth appreciating music and really showcasing their talents in front of their peers, in a world where taking selfies is more important than pretty much everything else. Of course, that is not meant as a dig, but it’s the truth.

I really loved one song in particular that they played called “Cookman.” For any of you that are involved in the scene, you will know that this is an ode to the wonderful Asbury Park. Every lyric is paying respects to the wonderful street, including the stores like Lakehouse Music, Russo, and many more. It’s amazing how one little street can have so much impact on people, and I am one of them. That song really had the crowd moving and throwing their hands around, for it’s a relatable track that youth and adults can adore! I also really like the song “Hey All,” since it’s more of an anthem; it’s one that will get stuck in your head, making you ask your friends, “Who sings this song again?” That’s the track I see people singing along to, which is what bands are always hoping for. After all, if the crowd isn’t feeling it, the group most likely will not be into it either.

There are a lot of members in this band, and each member brings a different element to the table. Even bringing guests on stage to play, everything just fits like a perfect piece to the puzzle. Their lead singer has a great vocal range, almost as if she could sing any song that existed, and it seems as if she could really belong in any band (however, we are glad she chose Ivy League). Also, their appearance may be my favorite, because there isn’t one whatsoever! They come on stage like they would go to a party, or what they would wear to school, because that is them; no gimmicks, no image, just real. Hey, after all, looking like a rock star isn’t as important as sounding like one. It seems as if when they get up there, they are up there for one reason and one reason only: to have fun! That’s what it should all be about. They aren’t competing to get a record deal or selling their souls to go on a tour; they are simply playing instruments for the love of it. Sure, it can be a lot of hard work with practice and learning all of your songs, but Ivy League make it seem effortless. There is no denying here that they all love playing their instruments, and the more shows they play, the better they will get. If they stick at this when they are home from school, I am confident that more opportunities will arise for them, enriching their lives.

If you get a chance to see these guys live, I highly recommend it, since it will immediately put you in a feel-good trance. That’s what music is all about: bringing people together, making them smile, and having them dance. Check out some of their videos on YouTube and get more information on their debut EP. I promise, you will fall in love with Ivy League!

I will be back next week with another band of your liking. In the meantime, keep sending your submissions and band recommendations so I can review your stuff! I am looking for new, old, originals, covers, heavy, soft, and anything you can find! Send it all over to Enjoy the rest of your Hump Day, friends.