North Jersey Notes: Sam Haiman Band, EchoLab, Ronin and More!

This week’s feature band is a band that I actually heard on the lovely Lindsay Klein’s “Homegrown Spotlight” on WDHA a while back, but I totally forgot about them until recently. I remembered hearing them and thinking about how their sound really brought me back to my early days at Z100 when they used to play bands like Matchbox 20, Third Eye Blind, Three Doors Down and Lifehouse. As I looked for a band to feature this week, I rediscovered this awesome little band out of Wayne, NJ who called themselves the Sam Haiman Band. After listening to songs like “Darker Side Of Town,” “Out Of My Elements,” “Ballad Of Broken Hearts” and “When You Fall” off of the band’s 2014 self-titled EP, I heard elements from the aforementioned bands, but yet the Sam Haiman Band doesn’t even list any of them as influences. The real standout in these songs is how well they’re written. I mean, these were songs!

According to their bio, singer and lead guitarist Sam Haiman formed his band in early 2014 after a bunch of jams and songwriting sessions at a local studio near the Berklee College of Music in Boston, where Sam attended school, and he immediately began recording the self-titled debut EP. The Sam Haiman Band EP was released in the summer of 2014. After the release, Sam took the band on the road to promote his new project with stops at venues in Boston, New York City, northern and southern Jersey, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C. Within their first year as a band, the Sam Haiman Band was featured on Lindsay Klein’s “Homegrown Spotlight” on WDHA (which was probably when I heard them), completed three tours, and performed headlining shows at venues throughout the East Coast. That’s not bad for a first year! This past summer, the Sam Haiman Band dove into new territories up and down the northeastern U.S. performing at festivals, fairs, clubs, pubs, backyards, taco stands, and basements. They’ve even performed at Musikfest in Bethlehem, PA, The New York State Fair, and the Meadowlands State Fair, playing alongside artists Snoop Dogg, Collective Soul, O.A.R., Darius Rucker and ZZ Top. I almost forgot… Sam Haiman didn’t play these shows alone. Joining Sam in the Sam Haiman Band are guitarist Zack Kressaty, drummer Remy Felsch, and newly acquired bassist Max Boras, who used to play guitar in Flowers To Flames and still playing guitar in Flathead Sky.

After touring for the past several months, the Sam Haiman Band has been in and out of the recording studio putting the finishing touches on their first full-length CD. According to their website, their songs “maintain its roots in rock, but with a modern edge—touching on influences as far back as the sixties to present day—all while carving out a sound of its own.” After listening to their debut EP a few times, I have to say that these guys could be a force to be reckoned with here in 2016. The music is fantastic and their musicianship is top-notch. Oh, and singer Sam Haiman can sing his ass off. For more info on the Sam Haiman Band, visit



After an amazing run in 2015, my boys from the band Shift have decided to change their name here in 2016 to EchoLab. According to the band’s Facebook post, “It’s been a wonderful year of growth and change for us, both in terms of our lineup and writing process; in reflection of that, we’ve decided to CHANGE OUR NAME!” I can respect that. If your lineup has gone through a few changes and the songwriting has taken a turn, it only makes sense to get a fresh start in the New Year. EchoLab makes their debut at Webster Hall in NYC opening for 40 Below Summer. They won’t make their Jersey debut until Feb. 20 at the Clash Bar. For more info on EchoLab, you can visit for the time being.

My brothers from Ronin have posted another video teaser to promote their upcoming CD, Rise Of An Empire, featuring songs like “Rise,” “Southern Hospitality,” “Virus,” “Your Disease” and “Writings On The Wall.” The boys have spent most of 2015 working their asses off on this CD and look to unleash within the coming weeks. For more on the new Ronin CD, Rise Of An Empire, and to find out where they’re playing next, visit

And finally, a couple of great shows that you won’t want to miss this weekend. First, on Friday night (1/15), over at The Saint in Asbury Park, NJ, it will be a busy night for birthday boy Tom Fitzgibbon, who will be banging out double duty behind the kit for New Theory and Negative Sky on his birthday. Also performing will be Age-9 and VSSLS. Then on Saturday night (1/16) at the Brighton Bar in Long Branch, NJ, it’s the return of Cycle Of Pain featuring J.D. DeServio from Black Label Society with special guests Ashes Of Your Enemy, Lower The Veil and Common Wealth. This is an amazing lineup that I don’t think I can even pass up! For more info on these power-punching shows, visit each band’s Facebook pages or websites! If there’s any weekend that you should support local music, it’s this weekend.

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:

1/15—Those Mockingbirds—Pianos, NYC

1/15—Age-9/New Theory/Negative Sky/VSSLS—The Saint, Asbury Park, NJ

1/16—Cycle of Pain/Ashes of Your Enemy/Lower the Veil/Common Wealth—The Brighton Bar, Long Branch, NJ

1/16—Jersey Campfires Production Presents: MindMaze/Baelfire/Callout/Arc’d Angel/Brenyama—Roxy and Duke’s Roadhouse, Dunellen, NJ

1/16—Honey Trap/The Accelerators/Frogg Party/Jean Pool—Al Cibelli’s Restaurant and Bar, Perth Amboy, NJ

1/21—The Company Kept/The Vaughns/Devon Goods/Maxilla—Crossroads, Garwood, NJ

1/22—Queensryche/Meytal/Halcyon/Psychoprism/Cashmier/Ixion Lux—Starland Ballroom, Sayreville, NJ

1/23—Barren/Gathering After Ashes/TRNZPRNT/Soraia— Roxy and Duke’s Roadhouse, Dunellen, NJ

1/23—Jersey Campfires Production Presents: Strive’s CD Release Show/Ascending From Ashes/Chevonne and The Fuzz/Our Fears/Low Roads Ghost—Mexicali Live, Teaneck, NJ

1/23—Jaded Past/Trapped In The Shadows/Cara Crash/The Test Band—Dingbatz, Clifton, NJ

1/23—Robots and Monsters/Unkempt Herald/The Donner Party/Sonick Plague—The Clash Bar, Clifton, NJ

1/23—Triphammer/Rich Deans/Equinox/Dead Space/Phillips Head—Crossroads, Garwood, NJ

1/24—Whiplash/Pychoprism/Half-Witted Dogs/Death Thrash/Black Mass/Paralysis—Dingbatz, Clifton, NJ

1/27—Dead Rocking Horse/Acey Slade—Arlene’s Grocery, NYC

1/28—Ashes To Rain/The Schwam—Crossroads, Garwood, NJ

1/29—Trixter/Eric Martin/Long Gone Day/Reality Suite—Mexicali Live, Teaneck, NJ

1/30—Killcode/Ten Ton Mojo/Nakid Jedye—The Shop, Brooklyn, NY