There was music and much more Tuesday night at Maxwell’s in Hoboken, NJ. Music 4 More, a charity that raises funds and resources for music programs in schools as well as community organizations, sponsored the event, it does so by repairing used instruments and making them new again so they can be used by organizations that could not afford them otherwise. The charity embarked on a six city tour entitled “Songs from the Vine” and partnered with Wines Til Sold Out which is an online store that focuses on selling wine up to 70% cheaper than internet and store prices. The concert featured raffles that included an electric guitar and toolbox signed and donated by The Alternate Routes as well as three bottles of wine donated by Wines Til Sold Out. Wines Til Sold Out has been a key partnership for Music 4 More enabling the charity to reach out to a whole new level in the community due to the company’s support. Maxwell’s was a perfect place for an event like this not too big and not too small, it also has a cozy coffeehouse vibe that lends to a relaxed setting to kick back and enjoy some music on an otherwise typical Tuesday night workday. The music also lent to the events eclectic vibe which featured varied music styling from Brian Jarvis’s acoustic performance to Kill The Alarm who showcased the rock portion of the night to The Alternate Routes who were a mix of a little bit of everything in between. There are so many ways to showcase and display your music and talents but I think the best way is to strip it down to the core to expose that rawness and authenticity. There is no better way to display that authenticity than to play acoustically and that’s just what the first performer of the night Brian Jarvis did.
Singer, songwriter Brian Jarvis seems to vary between playing solo acoustic or duo shows to shows with a full band. He began the night by explaining the absence of his band, and then a mishap that would make a duo performance with Brian Fechino former guitarist for Pat McGee Band a solo acoustic performance instead. The New England Native all but made up for it and so did his voice. From his first song “ Beautifully Broken” to his last song “ Honestly” I was in awe of Jarvis’s voice there was an honesty, clarity and tone in his voice that was powerful. Jarvis’s genre is clearly pop/rock and in fact shares many similarities to Pat McGee himself besides sharing a colleague their mannerisms, tone and choice of song titles is also apparent. One song that comes to mind is “Runaway” like McGee’s the song was a catchy up-tempo pop tune and Jarvis is it’s superstar. Later in his set Jarvis took on the emotions of love and loss with songs like “ Beautifully Broken “The Hardest Break”, and “ Slipping Away”.
“ Beautifully Broken” is a sweet pop song with a beautiful melody and powerful lyrics to accompany it and is the ideal song for an acoustic set. Jarvis’s voice is clear and crisp and his vocals solid. In fact, it was some of the best vocals I’ve heard in a long time. They were captivating and I was truly touched. There’s a difference between hearing music and feeling it, and on this night Jarvis and all the other performers reminded me why I love music so much. Jarvis loves music so much he quit his day job to pursue music full-time, he did so not only because he has a passion for it but also to pay homage to his dad. Jarvis then played a song he wrote for his dad called “Slipping Away” a touching ballad. Another song in the struggle to deal with life’s obstacles was “ Hardest Break” a relationship that was hard to let go of but when he wanted it back it had slipped through his fingers. The song also featured vocals by Steven Kellogg of Steven Kellogg and the Sixers. Jarvis final song of the night was “ Honestly” and it was perfect way to close his set. After some acoustic stylings to warm the crowd up the rest of the night’s performers were ready to bring the rock and Kill The Alarm did just that.
Kill The Alarm is a band fronted by New Jersey native Garen Gueyikan. The band’s sound is grounded in rock with a few elements of pop. The band’s first song included a long intro with the sounds of cymbals followed by a succession of bass than guitar. The tone and timbre of the song had minor chords and was dark and dissonant. Their sound reminded me of artists like Evanescence and Ryan Star. The music was pulsating up-tempo rock music, so much so you could literally feel the vibrations as the music pulsated through the floor. You also can’t go wrong with a bald lead singer at least in my book. Overall it was full on rock music with some variation of somber ballads and engaging songs some with a Caribbean or island feel similar to Jason Mraz’s “ I’m yours". The band also had great stage presence and kept the crowd going and the momentum up throughout the long night. And with three acts and over five hours of sitting it was a long night, but it wasn’t over just yet the last act to perform was The Alternate Routes.
The Alternate Routes like Kill the Alarm favored deep and melodic pulsating rock rhythms but it got to be a lot at times especially when they varied with so many different instruments at once for a full band effect. Their sound is one that can’t be defined but varies between R&B, country, and rock. Lead Singer Tim Warren’s voice echoed the sounds of voices like Five for Fighting’s John Ondrasik, David Gray or Maroon 5’s Adam Levine. Towards the middle of the night, things started to go downhill a bit in my opinion. The intros started getting longer as the night dragged on and toward’s the middle of the night the smell of pot or incense I’m not sure which filled the room making it stuffy and uncomfortable. Pet peeves of mine started kicking in such as the overly long intros, and the fact that all of the bands more than once didn’t announce the name of the song they were singing, or sang so close to the mic that you couldn’t hear them clearly or they just mumbled the lyrics into it rather than annunciating and singing them out. However the Alternate Routes fininshed the night strong slowing things down with a ballad called “Let Me Stay Young” and was their best song of the night. All in all it was a good night for a good cause and made a mundane workweek at little easier to get through.