North Jersey Notes: LEEDS, Cilver, SYKA and More!

My bro David Marin and his band Ronin are headlining a make-up show at the Brighton Bar in Long Branch, NJ this Thursday night (3/19) courtesy of Jersey Campfire Productions. So, I decided to check out the lineup and I was familiar with every band on the bill except for one. That means I needed to check them out! The name of the band was LEEDS and they were from Old Bridge, NJ, home of the famed Old Bridge Militia, the Old Bridge Metal Militia and my in-laws! I logged onto the band’s site,, where I gave the band’s August release, Symmetry And Sin, a quick listen, and I thought their sound was pretty interesting. It was simply raw rock ‘n’ roll at its finest. The songs “Devil’s Eyes,” “Best I Ever Had” and “You Know I’m Wrong” are so raw and well-written it’s hard not to be drawn to these guys. If I were to match them up with another band on the scene, I’d love to see them do some shows with my bros from Long Gone Day. Their styles and rawness are very similar.

According to their bio, LEEDS formed back in 2011 in their little Middlesex County town. The band noticed that they might have something as they played small bars and parties, but their fanbase started growing bigger and bigger. Lead guitarist and singer Connor Bracken is the main songwriter in the band and says, “The mission for LEEDS has always been to play hard, uncompromising and honest rock. The current lineup is delivering on that promise.” Connor is supported by guitarist Jimmy McKee, bassist Steve Gjelsvik and newcomer Bryan Stager on drums. In June 2013, LEEDS released their debut self-titled EP featuring songs like “It’s Alright,” “Let’s Raise Hell” and “Wine, Women And Song,” which garnered the band much attention and was well-received by fans. The band took every opportunity handed to them in the past year to get their name back out there and to get themselves back on stage to let loose their brand of rock, which has a multitude of influences with a style of their own. When LEEDS takes the stage you can tell they all love being there and you can hear it in their performance.

Back in August, LEEDS released their second EP, Symmetry And Sin, which seems to have picked up where their self-titled EP left off. There’s much energy in the songs and you can tell by the guitar tone that there was not much production value needed in the recordings. It’s just raw rebellious rock ‘n’ roll. I don’t think I’ve used the word “raw” so much in a column, but that’s the best way to describe LEEDS. Check them out Thursday night (3/19) at the Brighton Bar in Long Branch, NJ with my brothers from Ronin, Ascending From Ashes, Out Of Ashes and High Octane. This should be a great show! For more on LEEDS, visit them on



I have a couple of congratulatory updates this week for two NYC/NJ bands, who made some quick noise on the scene and their hard work paid off. The best part is that both bands are fronted by female singers. So, first, I wanted to congratulate the gang from Cilver, who recently inked a deal with eOne Music. How big is this deal? Let’s just say Cilver joins a family consisting of Black Label Society, Pop Evil, Chicken Foot, Ace Frehley, Bush and Saving Abel. That’s not a bad roster to be a part of if you ask me. eOne Music will be releasing Cilver’s full-length debut CD this summer, which they are currently in the studio recording. Singer Uliana Preotu sent me a message on Facebook reminding me that I featured the band’s first show and to “Let’s do it again!” For more on Cilver log onto and check out their video for the song “In My Head” featuring Guns N’ Roses guitarist and local boy, Bumblefoot.

And the second band I wanted to congratulate is my buds from SYKA, who signed a production deal with producer Kareem “Jesus” Devlin, who some might recognize from his work with Lady Gaga. SYKA are currently working with Kareem on their first official EP, which they also plan to release this summer along with the release of their first collaboration with Constantine Maroulis, who some might remember from American Idol and his Broadway hit Rock Of Ages. That’s two great things happening for two great bands on the NJ/NYC music scene! For more on SYKA, log onto

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:

3/19—Ronin/LEEDS/Ascending From Ashes/Out of Ashes/High Octane—The Brighton Bar, Long Branch, NJ

3/20—Cracked Alice/Vajra/A Midnight Tragedy—Mercury Lounge, NYC

3/21—Drowning Pool/Adrenaline Mob/Full Devil Jacket/Scottish Widows/Common Wealth/Brand of Julez/Raftree—Starland Ballroom, Sayreville, NJ

3/21—Know Your Enemy/Flowers To Flames/Ocean Of Illusions/Negative Sky/Unkempt Herald/Under the Red Hood—Tenth Street Live, Kenilworth, NJ

3/21—Steve Bello Band—Hartley’s, North Arlington, NJ

3/22—J.Rad/Frank Hannon (from Tesla)—Blackthorn 51, Elmhurst, NY

3/27—BioHazard/Zire’s War/Sword Enemy—Revolution Bar and Music Hall, Amityville, NY

3/28—Thanantotic Desire—Dingbatz, Clifton, NJ

4/3—Reborn Divided/Circuit Of Suns/Beyond Treachery/Midnite Hellion/Bow To The Fallen/Sicada/Centralia—The Backstage at Championship Bar, Trenton, NJ

4/3—Audio Empire CD Release Party/Reality Suite—Mexicali Live, Teaneck, NJ

4/3—End of an Era—The Headliner Night Club, Neptune, NJ

4/4—SYKA/Answer Infinity/Ascending From Ashes/Roulette—Tenth Street Live, Kenilworth, NJ

4/11—The Dirty Pearls/The Autumn Fire/New Day Dawn/Long Gone Day/Raftree Rock—The Brighton Bar, Long Branch, NJ

4/14—Ten Ton Mojo/The Compulsions (CD Release Party)/The Nuclears—Mercury Lounge, NYC

4/15—Metalfier/Atom Strange/Michael Schenker—Gramercy Theatre, NYC

4/18—Steve Bello Band—Roxy and Duke’s Roadhouse, Dunellen, NJ

4/18—Ryan Chiarella and The New Breed/Pat Travers Band—The Brighton Bar, Long Branch, NJ

4/18—Fear Report/From Below/Cause of Affliction/Purple Pam/Sweet Magma—Gussy’s Bar, Astoria, NY

4/18—Asphalt Green/Gravity Calls/Robots and Monsters/Views Into Vastness—Maxwell’s Tavern, Hoboken, NJ

4/24—Steve Bello Band—Shortway’s Barn, Hawthorne, NJ

4/25—Ashes of Your Enemy/Shadows of Dawn/Caustic Audio/Me With Creeps—Court Tavern, New Brunswick, NJ

4/25—Nights Of Malice/Horseman 5/Negative Traction/Spiral Scar/Division 1.1/Suburban Murder/COMMON WEALTH/They Call Us Death/Kept in the Dark/JNMF/1 Echo 1/Ketosis/Midnight Mob/Flowers To Flames/Kosmic Daydream/Roulette/SKIVER/Pool Of Thorns/angelface/headcase/Breakfast Kids—The Brighton Bar, Long Branch, NJ