If you were the proud owner of a home, chances are you’d never let over 100 strangers into your basement for a night. It’s just not practical. Think of all the mess these people you don’t know would leave there. The list of things that couldn’t go wrong would be dwarfed by the list of things that could go wrong. It would take the patience and acceptance of a saint to allow this to happen in the place where you live.
Thankfully for us, New Jersey is apparently full of saints. And on Saturday, October 11, 2014, the patience of a few saints who have dubbed their basement “The Bomb Shelter” was rewarded with a sweaty, intense evening that will be remembered for quite a few reasons. The show was scheduled to celebrate the release of Wanderer, an EP from New Jersey locals The Blithedale Romance. The EP is available now on Blithedale’s Bandcamp page, and from the sounds of it, this band will be playing to much bigger rooms than the one they played this weekend. The entire TGS crew was at the show, which also featured sets from Heroes in Error and Everything Ever, and a much-anticipated reunion set from You, Me, and Everyone We Know. Check out what Donald and Craig had to say about the show below!
(Author’s Note: We know the photos from the show are not that great. It’s a basement show, these types of things are difficult.)
After two energetic sets from Heroes in Error and Everything Ever (click each band’s name to visit their respective Facebook pages!), the stage was prepared for a set I never thought I’d see again. Even as Ben Liebsch and the bandmates he’d hastily assembled for the evening plugged in and prepared to play, I couldn’t bring myself to believe I was about to see You, Me, and Everyone We Know play a full-band for the first time since the band had its second mass-exodus, again leaving Liebsch as its only remaining member. However, once the opening guitar riff on the band’s staple track “Livin’ th’ Dream” kicked in, it was just like old times. The energy of the 100+ people in the basement was unprecedented, reciting each and every line for the entire set. Liebsch dealt with mic issues (the consequences of playing a show in this setting), but none of it mattered. The career-spanning set featured songs from nearly every one of the band’s 4 EPs (including 3 from last year’s fantastic I Wish More People Gave a Shit) and two standouts from the band’s lone full-length Some Things Don’t Wash Out. Between songs, Liebsch seemed hellbent on informing the crowd that this was only the beginning of the band’s re-re-reformation, with another show planned in Lancaster, PA and hopefully touring once 2015 rolls around. There was also an announcement that a new EP was finished a few weeks ago, and that the EP could end up becoming a full-length, depending on the path the band decides to take. It wasn’t the cleanest-sounding set, it perhaps didn’t go as smoothly as you’d hope, and it wasn’t a big welcome back in front of thousands of people, but that seems to be the reason Liebsch decided to bring the band back with a basement show: they’re building this from the ground up, giving it a fresh start, and seeing how far it’s meant to go. We may see You, Me, and Everyone We Know get on a few tours as support, perhaps a headliner through smaller venues, or possibly never again, but for now, there’s hope for the future of a full band, and to be able to say that in 2014 makes this set one of the most important that I’ve seen all year. –Donald
The Blithedale Romance was probably the perfect band to close out the lineup and follow up the chaos and intensity of the previous three bands. Their particular brand of fire-starting post-punk brought a riotous energy to the evening’s proceedings. Billed as a release show for the band’s newest EP, Wanderer, Blithedale did not disappoint, kicking the set off with the brooding intro to the new EP before kicking directly into the EP’s lead single, “State of Fear,” a rollicking, uproarious jam that blended perfectly with the atmosphere of this basement show.
While the technical ability of the members of The Blithedale Romance lead to an incredibly tight live performance, what impressed me even more was the band’s tremendous stage presence (even despite the distinct lack of a stage). They transferred the energy from the crowd perfectly to their own performance and as a result the crowd continued to feed off their own enthusiasm. Mixing in some new songs with some staples from the band’s previous EP King (including two obvious set standouts in “They Call Me America” and “Masters of Time”), the setlist seemed to perfectly usher in a new era for the band.
While New Brunswick may have turned out in droves to see the revival of You, Me and Everyone We Know, citizens of this legendary punk rock town stayed to witness the birth of one of its newest scion- that’s how bright the future of The Blithedale Romance looks.