North Jersey Notes: Black Dawn

My band, Rahway, will be rocking with fellow Jersey superstars, Skid Row, on May 4 at Starland Ballroom in Sayerville, NJ. I already featured one of the other bands on the bill that night, Another Days Armor, so it’s only fair to feature the final band on the May 4 lineup. I’m talking about Long Island rockers, Black Dawn.

Black Dawn has been performing in the Long Island and New York City area since 1996.  Their current lineup consists of singer and guitarist Matt Kotten, guitarist Tom Kelly, bassist Shawn Cox—formerly of NYC’s Sworn Enemy—and drummer Enzo DiPaolo. Black Dawn’s music is influenced by modern hard rock bands like Godsmack, White Zombie, and Five Finger Death Punch. They have been in rotation on hundreds of various college and internet radio stations, as well as podcasts worldwide. Black Dawn released their self-titled debut demo in 1996 followed by two full-length records, Absence of Time in 1999 and Age of Reason in 2004. The band wouldn’t have a new release for 10 years until their EP Until We Meet in 2014 by way of Blue Pie Records.

Through the years, Black Dawn has shared the stage with some of the best in the industry, from New York City to as far as Los Angeles, opening up for the likes of Kings X, Daisy Berkowitz, LA Guns, Biohazard, Michale Graves, Warrior Soul, Lynch Mob, Marc Rizzo from Soulfly, Prong, Fear Factory, Udo Dirkschneider, Anvil, Geoff Tate, Blaze Bayley, Tim “Ripper” Owens, Fozzy, Ace Frehley, Motograter, and Winger. I think that lists all of them! Black Dawn has also performed in many famous venues in New York City including Webster Hall, CBGB, the Continental, the Hard Rock Cafe, Stage 48, and the Gramercy Theater, as well as The Chance in Poughkeepsie, NY, Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, NJ, and the Paramount on Long Island. 

In late 2017, Black Dawn signed with Pavement Entertainment, a Chicago-based independent label, to prepare for the release of their fifth studio album, On Blackened Wings, which they will be celebrating the release of at Starland Ballroom the night of our Skid Row show on May 4. I got to listen to some of the band’s older tracks on Spotify like “Open The Gates,” “Lost Again,” “Hostile Intentions,” and “I Wanna Fly,” and these guys are no joke. They rock pretty hard! What else can you expect from label mates of Black Water Rising? This Skid Row show on May 4 is turning into a hell of a hard rock show! For more info on Black Dawn, visit


After the departure of guitarist Fred Gorhau, Dark Sky Choir does not plan to slow down. They’ve added guitarist Ira Black to their lineup, who rips, and they’ve been added to the Bobaflex tour for April and May. On 4/16, Dark Sky Choir will open The Ultimate Jam Night at The Cutting Room Floor in NYC, with Paulie Z from ZO2 hosting. For the latest info on Dark Sky Choir, visit…. I know I’ve mentioned this already, but now it’s official! For the first time in six years, Scarlet Carson’s original lineup will be reuniting for a show at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park on Saturday, June 8 with a loaded bill to support the show including City Vision, The New Black, Common Wealth and This Year’s Comeback. This is set to be a great show, so don’t miss out. For tickets, visit…. And finally, speaking of reunions, legendary thrash-metal crossover band M.O.D. has announced the upcoming release of their February 21, 1987 recording, Ritz Hotel Presents: M.O.D. The Official First Live Performance. M.O.D., who has experienced a few lineup changes, has returned to its classic lineup with original riffmasters, bassist Ken Ballone and guitarist Tim McMurtrie, and drummer Felix Griffin from D.R.I., and will soon include a new lead singer. For more info on this reunited lineup, visit their Facebook page, “MOD Classic Line Up”

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:

4/13—Angel/Starz—Debonair Music Hall, Teaneck, NJ (SOLD OUT)

4/13—Flaw/The Mendenhall Experiment/Black Water Rising/One Day Waiting— Dingbatz, Clifton, NJ

4/14—Flaw/The Mendenhall Experiment/Black Water Rising—Championship Bar, Trenton, NJ

4/18—Black Dawn/Lynch Mob—Blackthorn 51, Elmhurst, NY

4/20—Tokyo Motor Fist/Starz(Performing a special extended set)/Tempt—Debonair Music Hall, Teaneck, NJ

4/20—The Cringe/Voices of Extreme/Tesla—Starland Ballroom, Sayreville, NJ

4/20—Feudale/Steel Spade Syndicate/21 Kings/Gravitation/Nobody From Jersey—Dingbatz, Clifton, NJ

4/23—Combichrist/Silver Snakes—Debonair Music Hall, Teaneck, NJ

4/24—Steve Bello/Uli Jon Roth—The Wonder Bar, Asbury Park, NJ

4/25—Enuff Z’Nuff—Dingbatz, Clifton, NJ

4/26—Jersey Campfires Production Presents Newborn KINGS/Barren One/Lunatic Fringe—Roxy and Duke’s Roadhouse, Dunellen, NJ

4/27—Blaze Bayley/Mindmaze/Ogre/Lobster Chicken—Debonair Music Hall, Teaneck, NJ

4/28—Dead End(CD Release)/See Plus/Cold-Blooded Capitol/Spitphyre—Debonair Music Hall, Teaneck, NJ

5/1—Jess Peri/Jackie June/Briana Musco/Kory Hilpmann—Debonair Music Hall, Teaneck, NJ

5/2—A Pale Horse Named Death—Debonair Music Hall, Teaneck, NJ

5/3—Borgo Pass/Killcode/Inner Strength/Last In Line—Mulcahy’s, Wantagh, NY

5/4—Rahway/Another Days Armor/Black Dawn/Skid Row—Starland Ballroom, Sayerville, NJ

5/4—Jersey Campfires Productions Presents 12 Stones/Arc’d Angel/Answer Infinity/NASH/GAA—Debonair Music Hall, Teaneck, NJ

5/10—Dinosaur Eyelids—Championship Bar and Mu