My friend Jeff's house in Haledon is absolutely filthy, and has been ever since I started hanging out there in 2011, but tonight there seemed to have been a few efforts made to clean up the place. For starters, there weren't any broken beer bottles anywhere, and the old laptop that was Office Space-d into a million pieces at the last show had been (mostly) swept up. Of course, Jeff still didn't have any mic stands or power strips for the bands to use, but at least you could safely walk around the space.
The show was scheduled to start at 7:00, but since this was a basement show, that ended up being pushed to 8:30, which gave Jeff enough time to run to Walgreens to get a power strip while everyone else (myself included) went to the bar down the street.
The first band to go on was Where Is My Spaceship, which is essentially a solo project for lead singer and guitarist Josh Evensen. I was blown away by how good they sounded in this tiny basement, with each instrument perfectly balanced and toned. Though they did a straightforward cover of the Misfits' "Last Caress", their original songs are much more dynamic and nuanced.
The second act was Glazer, a trio from New Brunswick, NJ, who was, for some reason, just making their New Jersey debut that night (or so they claimed). Glazer is an enthrallingly noisy band, taking My Bloody Valentine's distorted waves and blending them with Dinosaur Jr's riffing and Yo La Tengo's driving krautrock hypnotics. When their guitarist placed his guitar on the floor and started playing it like a lap steel, I was sold.
For some reason, the only band on the bill with a Facebook page (and also the biggest band of the night, relatively speaking) was Kal Marks, who were on tour from Boston. Being label mates with Speedy Ortiz, they share that band's penchant for blissfully dissonant riffs and jagged energy, which also reminded me of early Modest Mouse and Sleater-Kinney.
The last act of the night was Party Cops, but they almost didn't make it, due to some car trouble all the way down in Philadelphia, where their bassist lives. This is probably the tenth time that I've seen Party Cops, and they just keep getting tighter and more fun each time. I once read someone describe them as "F**ked Up meets Andrew W.K." and that's pretty much a perfect description. They're a loud and furious punk trio singing (screaming) about drinking and partying, so you can just imagine how much fun they are.
Appropriately enough, during one of Party Cops' last numbers, some cops picked the lock on the cellar door and shut down the show, since it was 11:00 pm and we were in a suburban neighborhood.