words and photos by bill bodkin…
It was a magical night in Hoboken, New Jersey as River City Extension performed to a sold-out audience at the famed North Jersey rock club, Maxwell’s. For the 8 piece band out of the Jersey Shore, this was their was their big coming out party as they were celebrating the upcoming release of their new album Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Your Anger. From the first chord to their final bows, River City Extension had the audience lovingly feeding out of the palm of their hands — basking in the glory of their classic tracks and thoroughly embracing new tunes that only a select group of people had ever heard.
Hailing from the West Coast, The Drowning Men, complete with vibrant sleeved tattoos and epic facial hair, made a lot of fans at Maxwell’s. Despite performing amongst a series of technical difficulties, the band left their heart and soul on the floor of the legendary ‘Boken club. Lead singer Nato Bardeen has this earnest quality that’s perfect for today’s indie and alt rock scene. It’s got this emotion behind it that just really grabs you by the soul and doesn’t let you go. After hearing these West Coast cats perform, it makes me really want to hear what they sound like on record. A definite band to be checking out.
RIVER CITY EXTENSION
In the movie Moneyball, Oakland Atheltics’ General Manager Billy Beane, portrayed by Brad Pitt, says “It’s hard not to get romantic about baseball.”
The same can be said about River City Extension.
See, I missed out on being on the ground floor of basically every iconic New Jersey born band. I missed out on the E. Street Band (not even born). I missed out on Lifetime and The Bouncing Souls (too young/not into that scene). I even missed out on Matt Witte’s New Blood Revival (wasn’t down the Shore at the time). I missed out on all these great, legendary, beloved Jersey born bands.
Yet, when I first saw RCE, I knew there was something special about this band. And slowly but surely as I began listening to their music and seeing them in concert, it was truly hard not to get romantic about this band. I saw something special in them — they have that intangible it factor. That quality where you know that they’re destined for bigger and better things. And that’s why everytime I see them get mainstream press or their new album is spun on a major website or they sell-out a club in North Jersey, I get excited, I feel a sense of pride, a feel that I’m on the ground floor of something special; something I regale tales to the younger folk about how I saw the band tear down a club or open a Thanksgiving Eve show, just like the old salts who tell me stories of Bruce and the boys at The Student Prince or playing the boardwalk bars of Asbury.
Like I said, it’s hard not to get romantic about this band.
And musically, on this night of night, River City blew the doors out. The emotions ran high, the infectious fun energy of the band bounced off the walls of the venue and into the hearts of the crowd. The entire band was on fire the whole night and it could be noticed there were a few new faces on stage too. However, the band was so tight that you wouldn’t even know it from listening to them. It was an A+ night, from a truly remarkable band.