Live in JC: Kagero and the McMickle Brothers at Lucky 7 Tavern
When most people think of Tuesday in Jersey City, they don’t think of rock ‘n’ roll. But Lucky 7 Tavern (full disclosure: yes, I work there folks) has become a bit of a rock haven on Tuesdays with its weekly Songwriter Showcase — one of the few places you can still catch up with local music in this fair city.
This past Tuesday was the final showcase of the year, a sort of celebration of new original music that featured two very talented — and very danceable — bands: The McMickle Brothers and Kagero. As the evening approached, one thing was certain in my mind: friends would gather, sing and sweat it out on the barroom floor.
When I arrived at 7:30 pm, the McMickle Brothers were setting up and the bar was a veritable Who’s Who of North Jersey rock ‘n’ roll, with members of the One & Nines, Tip Canary, and Copesetic amongst the crowd at Lucky 7.
The McMickle Brothers, who recently released a new single “Different Walls,” are really brothers: Sam and Matt McMickle are the core of the Montclair band. On Tuesday, they were joined by guest bassist Dan McNevin, and they got the crowd primed for dancing. With songs like “Dry Splash” and “Dancing for the Smokers,” they are a hard act to just sit or stand to, and even harder act to follow up. But I had no doubt that night’s headliner was up to the effort.
Kagero was the main focus of the night, as it was the record release show for their new LP Japanese Gypsy Rock. Like any gypsy rock band worth their salt, Kagero has a rotating set of add-on minstrel performers. While JW (violin), Kaz Fujimoto (guitar, vocals, harmonica) and Rob Simpson (bass, backing vocals) are the meat and potatoes of the band, Tuesday’s side dish on the chindon drum was Mr. Wynn, who also manned the coach’s whistle.
The band started their set with the first song off the new album, “My Little Bonita,” a jaunty tale of days spent after a lost love. As the night wore on a crowd amassed around the band, with old fans and newbies singing along and shouting the choruses. After they played their final song, James, the showcase emcee, asked the crowd if they wanted more. If I hadn’t known better I’d have been sure there was a crowd of savages screaming for blood. Kagero obliged, playing a few new songs, one of which I was able to get on video (see below): “Rock Star in the Grocery Store.”
The band played another few encores, and then I took the reins to DJ the rest of the night out. As Bill S. Preston and Ted “Theodore” Logan would have said, “It was a most unprecedented Tuesday night.” Whiskey and friends mingled, and the bands hung out with the crowd until late into the evening — CDs were signed, hands were shook, but no babies were kissed. That’s one thing I really love about local music: the talent is so appreciative. But as it does every night, last call eventually came around and everyone made their way into the night, presumably with ears ringing and legs tired.
McMickle Brothers: “Different Walls”
Kagero: “Rock Star in the Grocery Store”