Last weekend, Craig and Don attended Hidden In Plain View’s hometown show at Stanhope House, their first show in New Jersey in close to ten years. Read below for some thoughts from Don about the experience and check out some photos Craig took of the evening’s performance.

Growing up in the suburbs of Northwestern New Jersey, I always felt like someone watching the uprising of emo music from afar. Scenes in Chicago (boasting the likes of Fall Out Boy and Rise Against), Florida (home to Underoath, Anberlin, and Further Seems Forever), and even other parts of New Jersey, where the central part of the state produced Thursday, My Chemical Romance, and Senses Fail, felt a lifetime away from where I was. That was, however, until I was introduced to the music of Hidden In Plain View. Along with creative songwriting and a truly unique sound, there was one other thing that I loved about them: they formed one town over from me.

Before seeing them at the Stanhope House on Friday, June 3, my fondest memory of Hidden In Plain View was when I was a sophomore in high school. Sitting in a US History class, my friend wore a Hidden in Plain View t shirt that caught the eye of my teacher. “Oh, you know Hidden In Plain View?” she commented, “Joe Reo sat right there,” and she pointed directly at me. This is amazing, I thought, the lead singer of the band sat right where I did. It’s a strange feeling, looking back on it now. Back then, I had no idea where my life would end up, but right then and there, I felt like I could be anything. Even if it wasn’t the singer of the next great band to hail from Lenape Valley Regional High School. For the benefit of basically everyone on earth, that didn’t end up working out.

So, when Hidden In Plain View walked out onstage in front of a few hundred people– some young, some old, some I recognized from high school—it reminded me of the absolute best part about music: its power to bring people together, and the escapism it provides.

For those who are not as acquainted with the band, they bowed out all too early after the release of Resolution, and ended up coming back a few years ago, and have been playing shows sporadically ever since. This intimate, unexpected homecoming performance was their first since a string of dates celebrating the ten-year anniversary of their debut album Life in Dreaming, and the band’s setlist featured many tracks from that debut. Opening with the fan-favorite “Twenty Below,” the bar was set very high early in the evening and only ever rose.

Given the median age of the crowd definitely being on the high side, I’ll admit I had some concerns about crowd fatigue during the fifteen-song set, but I was happily met with the opposite. The crowd’s energy steadily built, with the classic outro of “Garden Statement” turning into an eruption that used whatever energy each audience member had left in them.

The Stanhope House wasn’t around when Hidden In Plain View formed, and didn’t come back until long after they went on their hiatus. Suffice to say, it’s pretty crazy that this was the band’s first show at their hometown venue. However, thanks to an incredible crowd reaction and the band’s energy throughout, it looks like this show will be far from their last. Hidden In Plain View have been a band that have given me optimism and hope for the future, they’ve given me some of the best songs to rock out to, they gave Craig, Madison, and I the perfect name for this show/blog, and now I can say that they’ve finally given me an incredible concert-going experience in my hometown.