Live in JC: Groove on Grove Comes to JC Fridays
This Friday began early for me as I got out to check out Creative Grove, and see how the shops would set up with Groove on Grove’s special appearance for JC Fridays. I spent some time wandering around checking out the local art scene and the available wares. With items ranging from screen printed T-shirts to homemade organic cookies and lemonade, there was something for everyone.
Around 6 pm the music started up, with four acts slated to go on.
Heather Duby kicked it off, with her voice and keys — coupled with Tom Barrett on drums and Thomas Unish on guitar — pulling the scattered crowd into the tent. I snagged my ceremonial “start of the show” beer from the Bar Majestic booth and dug in for the set. Heather Duby has this amazing sound that sort of pulls at your heart; it’s hard to put the band’s sound into words. Most of the people were swarming from the PATH and staying for a couple of songs — I’d have to imagine it was a comforting sound to start the weekend to.
Next up was the Rebecca Vallejo Project, bringing the Latin-style funk with a jazzy scat feel. I felt like I was at a jazz club in the seedy side of 1930s Chicago. Her version of “Girl from Ipanema” is amazing; she takes this and other classics makes them her own, and she does it well. After the set I saddled up to the Sawadee Booth and dug into some veggie dumplings.
Last year’s fall installment of JC Fridays was my first taste of Tris McCall; he performed as part of Overlord. Ever since then I suppose he’s been right at the peripheral of my conscious, but I just never was about to find the time to get out to see him live. After seeing him here, I have to say I really regret not finding the time — I think my life would have been slightly more bright for it. I’ve heard locals tell me things like “This guy is the David Byrne of Jersey City!” and often other bands raving about the fountain of talent and musical production that he exudes. Frankly, I take a lot of that with a grain of salt — I’m a bit of a skeptic when it comes to music. But after seeing him again — backed by the Housing Bubble — it’s so apparent that I think I must have been having some kind of auditory illusion to not realize it nine months ago. I highly suggest you find a way to get your hands on Let the Night Fall, his latest LP. Track seven — “First World, Third Rate” — is an instant hit.
Wrapping up show was the One & Nines, with eight band members crowding onto what I had previously thought was a pretty large stage. As usual, the band had a large crowd — ranging from toddlers to seniors — out for the show. Basically, if you can hear, this band is for you. While the big soulful sound is hard to pull off with proficiency, the One & Nines do it in style, with every song feeling more epic than the last. The extended brass section the band had on Friday only served to reinforce how contagious the atmosphere gets when they get on stage — just see the video! After the set was done, the crowd dispersed quickly, but that’s JC Fridays for you — there’s something going on everywhere in town.