(Photo by Jake Dmochowski)

Hello there, yes you, we meet again. I have to start off by saying there have been so many good shows in this market lately that I have been getting out almost every weekend. Even in this crazy weather we’ve been having, zero degrees one day and sixty the next, I have still managed to come out of my winter hibernation. Hey, nothing like experiencing every season in the same month!

That being said, this week I wanted to talk about a show I recently went to at Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, New Jersey, featuring Never Shout Never. Yes, as many have asked, they are still an active band, and better than ever! One of the coolest parts about this show was that there were a lot of opening bands to start the day, including Metro Station, Jule Vera, A Boy Named John, My Life On Film, and the band I wanted to spotlight this week, Grin & Bear. They have been active in the local market for a little while now, and knowing them personally, I already knew I loved their style and sound. However, it was very cool to see them on such a big platform and stage at Starland Ballroom. The show went down Saturday, Feb. 13, and they hit the stage around 4 p.m.

Upon walking in the building, it was really cool to see that so many people were there that early. With over 200 people already inside the venue, I knew Grin & Bear were going to have one of the best shows they’ve ever had (I was right). They kicked the show off by greeting the crowd, and lead singer Brian was filled with enthusiasm and excitement. He has a great stage presence, shy yet outgoing (if that makes any sense), and he knows how to control the crowd. “Everybody have fun, that’s what we’re here for,” he told the crowd, and they were on their feet. As I looked around the room, it was really cool to see couples holding hands, kids dancing, hands in the air, and clapping all around. Their set translated perfectly with this fan base, as I had just imagined it would.

Grin & Bear have so many songs that I love, and their new album Range Wars is awesome. It’s even cooler that they produced it on their own. Some of my favorite tracks include “My Basement Floor,” “I’ll Walk,” and “Good Guy.” All of their songs are great live, and have an indescribable energy. For 30 minutes, they totally owned the Starland Ballroom stage. I saw kids tweeting about how much they liked the band, and in fact, some girls even seemed smitten (just throwing that out there, because who doesn’t want to hear that?).

At the end of their set, they gave out CDs to everyone in the crowd, and the kids seemed to really be digging them. I also saw some comments on social media about how much everyone enjoyed their set. I highly recommend you check out Grin & Bear, as they play shows down the Jersey Shore often, and hopefully you can catch them opening up for some more national acts in the near future. No matter what room they play in, or how many people they play to, they always give it their all.

If you want to learn more about Grin & Bear, access their music, and become a super fan, be sure to like them on their Facebook page at Facebook.com/GrinAndBearMusic. You can also check out some cool live photos of their show at Starland Ballroom on there as well!

I will be back next week with some more local talent to put in the spotlight, but for now, get into some Grin & Bear!

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