North Jersey Notes


Yes, I know these guys aren’t from North Jersey – or anywhere in Jersey for that matter. They are, however, performing at Dingbatz in Clifton, NJ this Thursday night (7/18), and last I checked, Clifton was in North Jersey. So, this week, I will be featuring Rise Among Rivals out of Baltimore, MD. I gave a listen to their self-titled EP on Spotify featuring the songs “Spiteful Eyes,” “Empty Love Scene,” “Bliss,” and “Truth in the Lie.” While I really liked every single song that I listened to and felt the songs were very well-written, I’m not sure what sets Rise Among Rivals apart from any of the bands being played on Octane right now. I really liked the band, but they sounded too cookie-cutter, if that makes any sense. There is some great musicianship in these songs, though, and singer David Gascon has a killer voice, too!

Rise Among Rivals, a new modern rock band, unleashes a raw energy on stage that is reflected on their self-titled debut EP. Since forming in the summer of 2017, the band has tied together their favorite pieces from hard rock and electronic music with a focus on heavy riffs, melodic vocals, and complex dynamics. Creating an honest expression in their music has been a top priority since forming the band. After leaving previous projects, Gascon and Christopher Tepper, their drummer, started recording what would become the first Rise Among Rivals EP. They were later joined by guitarist Jim Poggi and bassist Jamey McElroy to solidify the line-up. In September, after only two months of writing and recording, they embarked on their first tour, from Tennessee to Rhode Island, with the band Flaw.

Rise Among Rivals released their six-song, self-titled debut EP early in the summer of 2018. The EP is a direct representation of the band’s cohesive vision, starting with their music and stemming to their live performances. The band believes that the distance between your aspirations and reality is action, which is why they have made sure to put in the work to create a record and a live product that holds up to the high standards of each member of the band. The EP features songs that deal with personal struggle, conflict, lust, and love. You can catch Rise Among Rivals and their energetic live show when they play at Dingbatz in Clifton this Thursday night with Ascending From Ashes, All In Moment, and Sgraffito. If you can’t make this show, visit Rise Among Rivals at for more info on the band.


My brothers from Sekond Skyn have just been confirmed to perform the after party for the Papa Roach, Asking Alexandria, and Bad Wolves show at Stone Pony Summer Stage in Asbury Park, NJ on August 9. Sekond Skyn will be playing the indoor stage inside the Stone Pony after the Summer Stage lets out, which means that there will be a lot of people going in there to see them. I never even knew this was a thing, but apparently it is. For more on Sekond Skyn, visit…. My bros from Resurge just landed a great gig opening up for the mighty Puddle of Mudd at Debonair Music Hall in Teaneck, NJ on October 12. This is a pretty big show for Debonair Music Hall, and with singer Wes Scantlin newly sober, fans can expect an amazing show filled with Puddle of Mudd’s classic hits. Sprinkle in a little Resurge at the beginning of the night and you have yourself a rock ‘n’ roll party! For discounted tickets and more info on Resurge, visit…. And finally, this Saturday, don’t miss “Unity Fest” at The Brighton Bar in Long Branch, NJ, featuring some of the best hard rock and metal bands in the area: Dirty Black 7, my brothers in Incognito Theory, Pierced, Out Of Bounds, MIDNITE HELLION, Ryder, Orbynot, Love’s Over-Rated, Behind The Bullet (I love these guys!), and Madness At Midnight. This is a power-packed show that you might even see me at! For more info on Unity Fest, visit

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.