Thursday, June 22, 2017

Interview with We're Ghosts Now and the Premiere of Their New Single

We're Ghosts Now at Wonder Bar

"Are You Coming Home"

We're Ghosts Now are a band of brothers + 1 from Freehoold, NJ. The brothers Ben (guitar / vox), Max (bass), and Jake Resnick (drums) are now joined by Matt Imperato (guitar) and make music that can lift an entire crowd. The band combine influences from pop punk, folk, and Americana while striving to provide a sense of both community and catharsis to their fans.

Their next EP, Until Death..., -- featuring the band's former violinist, Alexander Iannone -- is due later this summer; and, today, we're premiering the first single for you. Guitarist, Ben Resnick, calls "Are You Coming Home" the closest thing to a love song on the new record and says, "it depicts someone able to feel romantic feelings towards someone for the first time in a long time." The song reflects a new subtlety in the band's approach while retaining some of the pop-punk style that makes We're Ghosts Now so much fun.

I chatted with Ben and Max Resnick about what it's like to be in a band of brothers, touring, and their new EP. Check out "Are You Coming Home." Read on to see what the guys had to say. Then, head over to The Stone Pony tonight, 6/22, for the "Summer Swelter Kickoff Party" featuring the Ghosts, Avery and The Man Devils, The Mercury Brothers, Modern Crowds, and The Burns.

When did you officially start We're Ghosts Now? Did the three of you always play music together as kids?

Ben: We're Ghosts Now started in early 2012. The original line up was me on guitar and vocals, Max Resnick on bass, Jake Resnick on drums, and Andrea Scaniello on keys and vocals. Since our humble beginnings, we've had a few lineup changes, while keeping the core three brothers. We lost Andrea, after 2 years of being in the band, when she got accepted to school in NYC, making the commute difficult. Then we were lucky to find Alexander Iannone, who shredded the violin with us for the next 3 years, until he decided to start his own project recently. The newest member of Ghosts is Matt Imperato who fills out our sound tremendously on lead guitar.

The three of us took to music one at a time. First, I started playing guitar and was in a handful of bands before Max learned bass and followed suit. Max and I were in a band right before We're Ghosts Now called The Son of a Guns. Jake was the last to join the musical family when he finally took the drums like a natural. What started as us just jamming out at our parents' house in Freehold, NJ, quickly evolved into the Ghosts you see today.

Max: We all actually wanted to play the drums when we were younger too, but since we lived in a condo with only some walls separating us and the neighbors it took all 3 brothers to finally wear down our parents and have them get Jake a drum set. Also, we found Andrea, she's fine and no longer lost. But still not a current Ghost.

What's it like to play with your brothers? Do you get a sense that it's any different than playing in a band where you're not related to one another?

Ben: To be honest, this is my favorite band I've ever been a part of. Obviously, chemistry is a huge part of being in any band. But having known my band members for my entire life, it brings us closer than any other band I've ever been a part of. Now we did not always get along when we were younger, and we still have our quibbles from time to time. But at the end of the day, we look out for each other and love what we do and love making music together. Having the fourth member definitely helps to keep us stay grounded when we might lose ourselves in our brotherly ways. When the brothers have a moment where we're at our throats, our fourth member usually helps us settle back down and get straight to business.

Max: It makes a lot of things easier as well. We tend to communicate without words a lot which I imagine can get a bit confusing for everyone watching, but everyone that has ever been our 4th picks up on our weird brother telepathy and fits right in. Being in a band of brothers makes everything so natural. We all have such similar musical influences and life experiences that we all are on pretty much the same page when it comes to making new music.

You've been on a couple of tours in the last few years, most recently down to Austin for SXSW. What was that like?

Ben: It was absolutely incredible. We've been on two tours now, both with our good friends in the band Fun While You Wait. During our first tour, almost everything imaginable went wrong. From day one until the end of our tour, we suffered a lot of setbacks, such as the booker from the second night of our tour which was in Rhode Island, calling us on the first night saying how excited he was to have us that night, when in reality we were playing in NYC, after just smashing our side view mirror off of our rented van on the back of a bus. So things were off to a shaky start at best. But despite it all, we made it work every night and ended up having a great time. Suffice it to say, we learned a lot on our first tour.

The second tour which was this past March was infinitely better. This time around we rented an RV which was a huge improvement, since we were traveling in our own lodging. One of my favorite parts of this tour was easily Austin, TX when we played two different shows for SXSW. We played at Maggie Mae's and The Dizzy Rooster. It was just such an experience. There were so many great people, incredible bands, awesome connections and friendships that were made, and amazing memories. For both shows, we had a steady stream of people coming and going. We had quite the audience and were very well received which was incredibly humbling. I honestly can't wait to do it all again as soon as possible.

Max: Tour is the best thing in the world. We definitely hit our snags the first time around, but it was still so much freaking fun. We were with an amazing group of friends both times and that made a world of difference. Any issue that came up we all worked together so well to solve it while having a lot of fun too. Our 2nd tour we just got so much better at avoiding trouble; and, like Ben said, we met so many amazing people that we can't wait to go back and see again. One of my dreams for the next tour we go on is to get a wagon train of RVs to follow us down, filled with more bands and more friends. We can just take over a town each night and bring some of our own blend of good times and rock and roll across the country!

Did you travel much as a family as kids? How does touring compare?

Ben: As kids, we had a fair share of family vacations. We'd traveled to Florida and made our way to Disneyworld and Universal. We had rented a house a few years in a row in Cape Cod and explored the artist town. But it does not compare to the experiences we've had since touring as We're Ghosts Now. You can't beat the warmth and camaraderie that comes from joining other bands in their native towns as you come visit for the first time. Every place has its own culture and way of things which was just incredible to be a part of. We haven't yet traveled to anywhere too exotic, with the exception maybe being New Orleans which was an amazing time. I can't wait to tour the rest of the US and then move to overseas shows.

We just recently became good friends with a band called The Rumjacks from Australia, so I'm very much hoping to make our way out there eventually, even if it's just to hang out with those dudes again. The main difference of being on tour vs our childhood vacations with the family would definitely be hygiene. It was almost nonexistent over tour. We got pretty dirty and smelly quickly and didn't have the means to shower on the regular. But we were lucky to have a few good friends along the way that let us use their home to spruce up a bit.

Max: I thought touring would feel like a lot more work, but it was such a blast the whole time it really felt like another vacation. We actually called our last tour the "Family Vacation Tour" and hopefully one day our folks will just get to come along with us to experience life on the road.

Photo: Courtesy of the band

Do you think it's still important for bands to tour in the era of YouTube and Soundcloud and Bandcamp and everything else?

Ben: Most definitely. We have definitely come a long way since the days where your only means of making it was to be found by a record label and have them promote you and book all your shows. We're very much in a do it yourself age which has opened many doors. But there will always be something in that live connection that you can't replicate through videos and streaming. The bond you make with other musicians while on the road as well as audience members who might not have even been there for you specifically is something you can't get from tweeting and posting on Facebook. I love the live experience and don't feel anything can ever replace that. Touring helps not only to connect musician to listener or musician to musician, but also helps you get a better feel of the world we live in. It helps you get out of your comfort zone and go explore the world which then, in turn, becomes more fodder for the musical engines inside our head while we're working on new material.

Max: I will never be able to get as close to another band or fan or anyone through social media as I would in person at a show. All of the social media platforms are no doubt incredible tools that open up so many new possibilities for artists of all kinds, but I like to use it more as a tool to keep in touch with those new friends we met that live thousands of miles from home. Once we've made those connections too it is nice to have all of that social media so that it is so easy for new friends and fans to share our stuff and hear about us next time we come into their town. Both touring and the use of new social  platforms are such powerful ways to get your music out to the world, but I feel they work best when spliced together.

When I read your band's biography, it seems like you guys are very much about being that thing that people can turn to as an escape or for some positivity. Is that what music has always been for you personally?

Ben: Music has always been an escape as well as safe place that we have turned to time and time again. It has been our catharsis during some rough times and helped us forge a path forward. It fills us with life and happiness, and the best part is that being in a band helps us share that with everyone around us. We're very much about creating a feeling or mood when we play. At any one of our shows, we always strive to make it like a big party, where everyone that attends now feels like they're part of this Ghostly family. We want everyone to let any care or worry fade away while we play the music that means a lot to us.

Max: Music has been a constant love in our lives and such a great way to express ourselves while also bringing our friends, new and old together under one sky. I wouldn't say we had a horrible upbringing, in fact we have 2 of the greatest parents any ghost kid could ask for, but in everyone's life there is some kind of stress or grief they would be happier without. We like to help people realize shit's not so bad and you can still crack a smile and have a good time. It certainly helped with 3 brothers growing up in the same bedroom for most of our childhood. As kids, we would often have sibling fights and not have anywhere of our own to go run to and decompress, so we started playing music together. That changed everything. Suddenly whatever anger or frustration we had was being translated into sound, and when all of us would do that together we realized we had something really special that just came naturally.

Is it ever difficult to, on a particular night, to come out onstage with that positive energy?

Ben: There's always that night where the weight of the world is on your shoulders and a little hard to shake off. But the show must go on as they say and we do just that. There have definitely been tough times to put on a smile and positive vibes when on stage after going through some tough life situation one time or another. But we always try at those times to remember that we're doing what we love doing. We're doing what makes us happy. Playing music is the one thing that lets us truly be us and share that with the world. So as tough as it sometimes has been to shrug off a tough time and play a great show, we still try to put our best foot forward and make sure everyone is having a good time regardless.

Max: Also, I can hardly remember a time that any of us went onstage in any kind of mood and still had it by the time we were done playing. Music is a very cleansing happy thing for me, I almost can't help but smile so big my mouth hurts every time I play. And, as the years go by, I have more and more reasons to smile every time I look into the crowd and see the smiling faces of our friends and fans. As in a funk as we may be, the positive energy our the crowd and the other bands bring is usually more than enough to bring us back up.

"Are You Coming Home" is a great example of the influences at work in We're Ghosts Now. There's the big pop-punk influenced sing along quality mixed with a more Americana or folky feel. Can you talk a little bit about your influences and some of the inspiration behind the song?

Ben: Some of my greatest influences have been bands like The Gaslight Anthem, Murder By Death, and The Airborne Toxic Event. These bands really spoke to me because they are all able to tell a great story through a great combination of sounds.

“Are You Coming Home” is the first single from your upcoming EP Until Death…, which is due in August. What else can you tell us about that collection?

Ben: This E.P. is the next step for We're Ghosts Now. It takes a step past the pop punky songs from the first album and shows the maturity of our sound over the past few years. As with the first album, the songs resonate with life experiences. We have everything from "Are You Coming Home," which is the closest we have to a love song for this album, where it depicts someone able to feel romantic feelings towards someone for the first time in a long time, to "Find You," which is about dealing with a terrible landlord. Our music is more than just putting catchy lyrics over fun sounds. It's a true catharsis where we get to pour ourselves into these songs and let loose what’s on the inside.

What else is in store for We're Ghosts Now before and after the release?

Ben: Well, obviously, we're very excited to get these new songs out there for everyone to hear. We've put a lot of work and effort into these songs. We want to promote them by playing out a ton and get them heard by as many ears that are willing and able to listen. Hopefully, getting some sweet new merch as well.  But that being said, we're ready to start working on new material. We have recently gained a new lead guitarist who really melds with our vibe and sound, and we really want to start creating new sounds with him. Having a lead guitar is a very different feel from the violin we had. It really adds a depth and layer to our sound that we didn't have before. So I'm very much looking forward to the future sounds of We're Ghosts Now.

What's Going On: 6/22, 6/23, 6/24 & 6/25, 2017

Little Dickman Records bring Nashville's Thelma & The Sleaze back to Asbury this Sunday.


It's now officially summer. The cooldaughters are outta school. The coolpool is clear. I will eventually make it to the beach. But there are always shows to check out.

The free Jams on the Sand series kicks off Thursday night at Anchor's Bend in Asbury with Flow Tribe and Chris and Brendan of ENJOY! American Trappist play for free at APYC. Sharkmuffin play a show at Newark's Index Arts Center with Francie Moon, Crusasis, Roaming Bear, Annie Alkaline, and Victory At The Crossroads. Smalltalk are at Porta in Asbury. Richard Barone and Ricky Byrd have the early show at The Saint followed by Black Pussy and Mind Riot late. The Burns, Modern Crowds, We're Ghosts Now, The Mercury Brothers, and Avery and The Man Devils play a Summer Kickoff Party at The Stone Pony.

On Friday, Brian Erick, Lauren Patti, and Matthew Cook play The Asbury's Soundbooth Bar. Have A Good Season, Weller, Ragged Lines, prim, and Zanders are at APMF for a show put together by Little Game. Accidental Seabirds return to APYC with Bone & Marrow and Tall Horse. The Shady Street Show Band play The Saint. Jake Clemons hits Wonder Bar.

Jackson Pines, Colton Kayser, and lots of friends play APYC on Saturday. Big Bliss, Dead Stars, Talkers, and Pussywolf are at Footlight Bar in Queens. TV Tramps head to Brooklyn for a show at Hank's Saloons with Cash Registers, Caldor Kids, and Subtastics. Metuchen's Old Franklin Schoolhouse hosts Lowlight and Coach N Commando. DJs Todd-O-Phonic and Sara M spin tunes at Asbury's Overlook. Thee Idea Men, Rachel Ana Dobken & Zach Westfall, and Sylvana Joyce play an afternoon show at the Transparent Clinch exhibit at The Asbury.

Hub City Stompers play Brighton Bar in Long Branch on Sunday. Pronoun is at Jersey City's Monty Hall. Little Dickman Records bring Thelma & The Sleaze, Darkwing, and Tight Lipped to The Saint for a Sunday night show you won't want to miss.

I'll see you out and about this weekend, I'm sure. Come say, "Hey!"


The Anchor's Bend (Asbury): Flow Tribe / Chris & Brendan of ENJOY!, 6pm, FREE

The Asbury Hotel, Soundbooth (Asbury): Open Mic, 8pm, FREE

Asbury Park Yacht Club (Asbury): American Trappist, 8:30pm, FREE

Brighton Bar (Long Branch): Puppy Grease / The Extras Inc. / Digasauris, 7pm, $7

Index Arts Center (Newark): Francie Moon / Sharkmuffin / Crusasis / Roaming Bear / Annie Alkaline / Victory At The Crossroads, 8pm

Little City Books (Hoboken): Glenn Morrow's Cry For Help (Record Release), 8pm, FREE

Porta (Asbury Park): Smalltalk, 8pm, FREE

The Saint (Asbury): Richard Barone / Ricky Byrd, 6:30pm, $15

The Saint (Asbury): Black Pussy / Mind Riot, 10pm, $12

Starland Ballroom (Sayreville): Sevendust, 7pm, $29.50

The Stone Pony (Asbury): The Burns / Modern Crowds / We're Ghosts Now / The Mercury Brothers / Avery and The Man Devils, 7pm, $10 adv, $12 door

FRIDAY (6/23)

The Asbury Hotel, Soundbooth (Asbury): Brian Erick / Lauren Patti / Matthew Cook, 9pm, FREE

Asbury Park Music Foundation (Asbury): Have A Good Season / Weller / Ragged Lines / prim / Zanders, 7:30pm, $7

Asbury Park Yacht Club (Asbury): Accidental Seabirds / Bone & Marrow / Tall Horse, 10pm, FREE

Brighton Bar (Long Branch): Nothington / MakeWar / Joe McMahon / Lost In Society, 7pm, $10

Clash Bar (Clifton): Cinema Cinema

Count Basie Theatre (Red Bank): Huey Lewis and The News, 8pm, $49-$99

The Footlight (Ridgewood): Hnry Flwr / Sharkmuffin / Great Woods / The Big Drops, 7:30pm, $10

House of Independents (Asbury): Emo Night Brooklyn - Asbury Park, 9pm, $10 adv, $14 door

Langosta Lounge (Asbury): Waiting On Mongo, 9pm, FREE

Maxwell's Tavern (Hoboken): The Last Internationale / Deaf Rhino / Chevonne and The Fuzz, 7:30pm, $12

Meatlocker (Montclair): The Little Engineers / Baby Hands / Wheel and Frame, 9:30pm

Millhill Basement (Trenton): Pizza Hustle, 8pm, $6

PNC Bank Arts Center (Holmdel): Third Eye Blind / Silversun Pickups, 7pm, $35+

The Saint (Asbury): The Shady Street Show Band / Electric Kif / Pepperwine, 7:30pm, $10

Scarlet Pub (New Brunswick): Like-Minded / pioneer the eel / Olive & the Pitz / Fence, 8pm, $5

Starland Ballroom (Sayreville): Dark Sky Choir (Record Release), 7pm, $12 adv, $15 door

The Stone Pony (Asbury): Protoje, 8pm, $22 adv, $27 door

The Wonder Bar (Asbury): Jake Clemons Band, 8pm, $22


Asbury Park Yacht Club (Asbury): Jackson Pines / Colton Kayser / Dogwood Tales / Saw Black / Tim McNary, 10pm, FREE

BerlinNYC (NYC): Flash Trading / Hard Nips / Little Hustle / The Planes, 8pm

Brighton Bar (Long Branch): Solace / Bowhead / Doperider / Eternal Black, 8pm

Cafe Enigma (Toms River): The Underachievers? / Fun While You Wait / Celio Espinoza / Rebecca Winter, 6pm, NO COVER ($4 min)

Clash Bar (Clifton): Surprise of the Century / Rupert Selection / The Archways / Sean Gas

Court Tavern (New Brunswick): Goats / Tula Vera / The Good Vibe Tribe / Joy Ride, 8pm

The Footlight (Ridgewood): Big Bliss / Dead Stars / Talkers / Pussywolf, 7:30pm, $10

Fox & Crow (Jersey City): Jimmyduster / Tris McCall / Jim Testa, 9pm

Hank's Saloon (Asbury): TV Tramps / Cash Registers / Caldor Kids / Subtastics, 8pm

House of Independents (Asbury): Ladies Night w/ DJ Licious, 9pm, FREE

Langosta Lounge (Asbury): Burlap To Cashmere, 10pm, FREE

Old Franklin Schoolhouse (Metuchen): Lowlight / Coach N Commando, 8pm, FREE

The Overlook at Convention Hall (Asbury): DJ Todd-O-Phonic / DJ Sara M, 9pm, $5

Meatlocker (Montclair): Frustrate / Bed Sore / Devoidov, 9pm

Pino's Gift Basket (Highland Park): All Night Drivers / Lance Scott Greene, 9pm, FREE

Roxy & Duke's Roadhouse (Dunellen): Sad Lips / rainMKERS / The Up! Up! Ups!, 9pm, $10

The Saint (Asbury): The Holdup / Psychotic Submarines, 7:30pm, $13

Starland Ballroom (Sayreville): Alive! '75, 8pm, $15 adv, $18 door

The Stone Pony (Asbury): Black Dog, 7pm, $12 adv, $15 door

Transparent Clinch (Asbury): Thee Idea Men / Rachel Ana Dobken & Zach Westfall / Sylvana Joyce, 4pm, FREE

The Wonder Bar (Asbury): Thomas Wynn & The Believers, 8pm, $10

SUNDAY (6/25)

The Asbury Hotel, Salvation (Asbury): Burlap To Cashmere, 6pm, FREE

The Asbury Hotel, Soundbooth (Asbury): Sunday Night Trivia w/ Gentleman Jim, 7pm, FREE

Asbury Park Yacht Club (Asbury): Frank Lombardi / Cranston Dean, 7pm, FREE

Brighton Bar (Long Branch): Hub City Stompers / Razorblade Handgrenade / The Hardknocks / Dusters / Gabe Zander, 6pm, $10

Meatlocker (Montclair): Valleys / On Better Terms / Our Wits That Make Us Men, 9pm

Monty Hall (Jersey City): Pronoun, 8pm, $10 adv, $12 door

Porchistas' Home Studio (Montclair): Matt Smith / Liv Lombardi / prim / Fire Is Motion, 7pm, $5

The Saint (Asbury): Joe Salk's School of Rock, 1pm, $12

The Saint (Asbury): Thelma and The Sleaze / Darkwing / Tight Lipped, 7:30pm, $10

The Stone Pony (Asbury): Reel Big Fish / The Expendables / The Queers / Tunnel Vision, 6pm

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Stuff I've Been Listening To from Quality Living, Mise En Scene, Daddy Issues


Eventful few days around CDMHQ.

Both cooldaughters reached educational milestones with CD #1 graduating from middle school and CD #2 "graduating" from fourth grade (which is a thing in our town). There were last-day-of-school parties; and both kiddos then immediately went into the summer long-course swimming season which means getting up before 6am to go to practice. Fun!

For our part, CoolMom and I spent her day off re-upping on the minvan life for a few more years when we replaced our Toyota Sienna with one that is 10 years newer. I'm sure we overpaid, but it's super nice with all that new technology -- like Bluetooth -- that all the kids use these days.


A few things...

Quality Living, "Oh No"

About a year ago, I premiered the very first single from Ringwood's Quality Living. That song, "Amber Sun," bounced along on a summery vibe that recalled AM radio pop as filtered through bands like The Shins or Real Estate.

Quality Living are back with new single, "Oh No;" and, once again, they show their facility with easygoing indie pop. The song is a nod to the surprises that can await at a basement show and captures that feeling of letting the moment take you where it will.

You can stream / download "Oh No" over on Quality Living's Bandcamp page.

The band return to Hansil's in Oakland, NJ on July 8th with Sniffling Indie Kids label mates LKFFCT and Adam and The Plants. Also on that bill are Ringwood's Night On The Sun.

Mise En Scene, "Waster"

I did pretty well at SXSW 2017 as far as checking bands I wanted to see off of my list. One of the bands I never managed to catch up with, though, was Winnipeg's Mise En Scene. Something about the band's combination of garage rock and soaring, country-esque vocals really drew me in. They just released single, "Waster," on Friday; and that's all there.

The song starts off sounding almost pop punk until Stefanie Blondal Johnson comes in to tell someone off with a voice that rings like a bell. "You're a waster. Yeah, you wasted time. I won't miss this..."

"Waster" is off of Mise En Scene's upcoming Still Life on Fire, which is due June 30th from Light Organ Records.

Daddy Issues, Deep Dream

I've had a few records in heavy rotation this spring: Charly Bliss's Guppy, Baked's Farnham, and Daddy Issues' Deep Dream. The Jake Orrall (JEFF The Brotherhood)-produced debut from Nashville trio, Daddy Issues, combines heavy, 90s-influenced fuzz with singer / songwriter-style honesty.

Opener "Mosquito Bite" thrums along as singer / guitarist Jenna Moynihan looks back at a bad relationship. She's bounced back, become a stronger person, and gained perspective. On "In Your Head," Moynihan imagines her ex imagining her miserable following their breakup. "High St." is fuzzy pop, the guitars and vocal harmonies working to give things a hazy, dreamy feel. The distorted country of "I'm Not" is soul-baring. Daddy Issues' cover of "Boys of Summer" transforms the 80s, MTV, buttoned-up coolness of that song into something that oozes a little blood and sweat.

This is one I keep coming back to -- in the car, at my desk. Moynihan, Jenna Mitchell (bass), and Emily Maxwell (drums) hit my favorite sweet spot somewhere between heavier rock and pop, and the lo-fi realness of it all is irresistible to me.


Deep Dream is out now via Infinity Cat Recordings. Daddy Issues play Brooklyn Bowl on June 30th with their Nashville compadres, Diarrhea Planet.

Monday, June 19, 2017

YJY Played (Their Final Show) at Asbury Park Music Foundation with Avery and The Man Devils, Jeff Lane, Julian Fulton and The Zombie Gospel, and NGHTCRWLRS, 6/17/17

Through Being Hip

I've given a bunch of space in the last week or so to the end of YJY. The band are a great bunch of guys with great songs; and, on Saturday, they called it quits with a show at Asbury Park Music Foundation. By the end of the evening, the room was so packed out that the air conditioning couldn't keep up with the body heat. That meant for a sweaty and joyful sing along with "Couch Surfin' USA" and some pretty damp hugs to close out the night.

Before things got to that point, though, we had sets from several YJY friends and fans. Avery Mandeville opened things up solo; but, when we reached 8pm (the official "let's make some noise" time), she brought up her backing band, The Man Devils. It was my first chance to hear her songs live in the full-band arrangements that appear on the EP; and they were spot on.

Jeff Lane followed with a solo acoustic set that included mostly new songs along with a cover of dollys' "I Know." The crowd was rapt, remaining amazingly quiet and attentive for the entirety of Lane's set.

Julian Fulton had opened a previous release show for YJY as a solo act. On this night, however, he brought the full Zombie Gospel, an amazing collection of musicians who did great renditions of the songs from Fulton's Battered Receptions along with earlier stuff.

NGHTCRWLRS, featuring Sniffling Indie Kids label co-honchos Frank DeFranco and Eric Goldberg, revved up the crowd with their own, contagious, manic energy. With the crowd starting to pack in and the guys bouncing on the stage, I found it a little hard to take pictures. They played what felt like a pretty short set -- even including a brand new song -- to make way for YJY.

When YJY did take the stage, the weird "audience buffer zone" that existed for the whole evening shrank down to a few inches. Steve Sachs, Ricky Lorenzo, Dave Sachs, and Tim Fitzpatrick did about a forty-five minute set that included the "hits" like "Summer Lifeguard," "Ameila," "Surreal," "Through Being Hip," "Past My Prime," and "Couch Surfin' USA" along with songs from The Enduring YJY like "Somebody Take My Phone," "Best Coast Weather," and "Loathe."

At one point, singer / guitarist Steve Sachs acknowledged the community that made YJY possible: the folks at Sniffling Indie Kids, the people who worked with them on recordings, played shows with them, offered them a place to play, covered the band, or just came out to shows. You could feel the sense of community in the room, and the looks on the faces of the band members as the crowd screamed "Couch Surfin' USA!!!" back at them were worth the price of admission.

It's pretty easy to get jaded in any music scene. Booking shows, getting people to come out to shows, overcoming that general feeling of -- well -- shoveling shit against the tide sometimes are not easy things. They can wear on you and make you question why you stick with it. But, then, there's an evening like Saturday night. YJY were able, if even for just a little while, to look out over a crowd of sweaty faces and know that -- together with everyone in that room -- they were able to put a little joy into some people's lives. That's no small thing, and it's something I hope the guys take with them no matter what else they do.

Pics are going up in the Flickr galleries and on the Facebook page a little later today.