One of the bands I’ve been meaning to write about after I judged that Crusade contest back in August for the Food Truck and Rock Carnival was a band called Barren. I’ve never heard of these guys, but I thought they were pretty good. The best part is that all of the band members looked about my age, which proves us older guys can still rock with these younger bands out there. Singer Chris Riquinha proved to have a strong voice and musically, these guys were pretty good songwriters. They’re obviously not reinventing music; it’s straight-forward hard rock that I would definitely listen to more than once. I gave their EP, Like A River, a listen on Spotify, and the songs that really stood out to me were “Chains,” “Empty,” “Blood Cherry” and my favorite track, “For The Ladies.”

According to their bio, Barren was formed in early 2010, but didn’t evolve into their current lineup until the summer of 2012. These five friends and fellow seasoned musicians, who come from all different points of the Central Jersey area, have been developing a sound and live show that will bring you back to a time when rock was fun, loud and unapologetic. Musically, they’re reminiscent of early Alice In Chains meets Clutch. Rounding out the band behind singer Chris Riquinha are guitarists Rob Sinko and Owen Iozzio, bassist Keith DeaKyne and drummer Richard Albuquerque.

Barren went into the studio back in the spring of 2013 to record their debut EP, Like A River, which I mentioned earlier, but it wasn’t released until 2014. Since the EP release, Barren has hit the ground running, performing every Jersey venue imaginable to promote Like A River, which has been highlighted with a slot on the Carnival stage at this year’s Rock Carnival a few weeks ago. You can actually catch Barren live this Friday night (10/16) at Dingbatz in Clifton, NJ opening for Zire’s War featuring Joey Z from Life Of Agony. Like A River is available now on iTunes and Spotify. For more on Barren, visit their website,



A couple weeks ago, my band Rahway played with my boys, Brand Of Julez, as we opened for the legendary Ace Frehley at Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, NJ. Not only did Rahway play a killer set (my opinion is obviously biased on that), but Brand Of Julez really brought their “A” game as well. After their set, they gave me their new single, “Monkey,” which was produced by Life Of Agony’s Joey Z with CD artwork done by the talented Joey Hernandez, and the song is fantastic! The hook is catchy and the Zamora brothers have really grown as songwriters. I love watching these kids grow into their own as band. If you haven’t already, check out Brand Of Julez at

Speaking of Joey Z and Life Of Agony, it was announced a couple of weeks ago that they will be returning to the Starland Ballroom in Sayreville on Dec. 6 with Walls Of Jericho in celebration of Mina Caputo’s birthday! If it hasn’t already, this show is a sure sellout like the last LOA show at Starland was. So you might want to act now! Catch Joey’s other band, Zire’s War, also featuring my bro John Fattaruso on guitar, at Dingbatz in Clifton, NJ this Friday night (10/16) with Barren, Chained To The Dead and my bros from Robots And Monsters. For more on Life Of Agony, visit, and for more on Zire’s War, visit

And finally, hot off the heels of their amazing main stage set at this year’s Food Truck and Rock Carnival, my bros from Dead Fish Handshake will be sharing the stage with some more friends of mine in SYKA this Friday night (10/16) down at Slake in New York City. This is a great lineup and a show you won’t want to miss. For more info, visit DFH at or SYKA at

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:

10/14—Jessica Ospino/Jamie Alimorad/Heidi Merrill/Deal Casino/Black Satellite/Black Bear Tribe—Highline Ballroom, NYC

10/15—Mercury Morning/Matt Booth/Northeast Party House/Total Girlfriend Experience/The Values/Good Morning—The Paperbox, Brooklyn, NY

10/16—Zire’s War/Barren/Chained to the Dead/Robots and Monsters—Dingbatz, Clifton, NJ

10/16—SYKA/Dead Fish Handshake—Slake, NYC

10/16—Twisted State of Mind/Meatplow/King Slugger/13:1/QT and the Quirktones—The Fire, Philadelphia, PA

10/17—Madame Mayhem/Rabid Assassin/Resistance/ORBYNOT—Dingbatz, Clifton, NJ

10/17—SYKA—Revolution Bar and Music Hall, Amityville, NY

10/17—Jersey Campfires Productions Presents: Craving Strange/Civic/Arc’d Angel/Folding The Pages/Kosmic Daydream—Tenth Street Live, Kenilworth, NJ

10/17—Borgo Pass/Armed and Dangerous/NFU/Permanent Scar—Even Flow Bar and Grill, Bayshore, NY

10/17—Overkill/Symphony X—Terminal 5, NYC

10/18—The Icarus Account/Jamie Fox/Brian Lowe/Arejay Ella/Chrissie Limos— Dingbatz, Clifton, NJ

10/24—Rebel Revolution/Mach 22/Pavelle/Clashing Plaid/Black Sun Rising—Bull Shooters Saloon, Philadelphia, PA

10/24—Whiplash/Attaker/Legion/The Heist—Dingbatz, Clifton, NJ

10/24—Sekond Skyn/End of an Era/New Day Dawn/Saving Abel—River Rock Restaurant and Marina Bar, Brick, NJ

10/29—Jersey Campfires Production Presents: Lights Over Hudson/A Midnight Tragedy/Empire Fallen/Blackout Paul/Prodigal Sons—Mexicali Live, Teaneck, NJ

10/31—Black Water Rising/Lords of Mercy/High Octane—Brighton Bar, Long Branch, NJ

11/4—Scottish Windows/Skid Row—Irving Plaza, NYC

11/6—Corevalay—Dingbatz, Clifton, NJ

11/7—Sworn Enemy/Robots And Monsters/Hellshot/Juan Bond—The Grand Victory, Brooklyn, NY

11/13—Malvador/The Things They Carried/That of A Lion/Comb The Desert/Enochian—Dingbatz, Clifton, NJ

11/15—SYKA/GWAR/Born of Osiris/Battlecross—Webster Hall, NYC

11/20—Saint Caine/Rahway—Dingbatz, Clifton, NJ

11/21—SYKA/Dragonforce/Kamelot—Starland Ballroom, Sayreville, NJ

11/27—Jersey Campfires Production Presents: Syka/Know Your Enemy—Tenth Street Live, Kenilworth, NJ

11/28—Jersey Campfires Productions Presents: Rahway/Pool of Thornes/Shattered Skin—The Boneyard, Atlantic City, NJ

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