There is no doubt that the south shore of Long Island loves to jam. There are no bedtimes when a good band comes out to show us a good time, and The Lawn Boys fit that ticket. On Friday, February 1st, the boys came for an awesome late-night party that started at ten and rocked through the night.
If one thing is certain about the Phish fanbase, it is that they like to stick to what they know. With three Phish tribute bands performing in an hours radius on the same night, fans had quite the decision to make. The packed house at 89 North proved that this was a no brainer. The Lawn Boys proved their name as the greatest Phish tribute on the East Coast (dare I say the best Phish tribute anywhere?).
With three sets, each of them close to an hour long, it should have been a wonder how the party went strong all night but with an unmatched energy and fierce musicality, The Lawn Boys made it easy.
Sticking to the traditions of Phish, each song The Lawn Boys played was unpredictable, ranging from Phish classics to bluegrass covers and awesome twists on contemporary and classic rock hits. Even if you aren’t a part of the phandom, it’s impossible to not jam to The Lawn Boys set.
The night kicked off with “Old Home Place” and flowed right into “Ya Mar”. The energy was inescapable in no time flat. With craft beers in hand, south shore patrons danced all night to the funky grooves that the band delivered. Set highlights included a jammed out rendition of “Simple” and insanely Phish-accurate versions of “Maze” and “Mike’s Song”. The third and final set was not void of any aspect that the first two boasted, and The Lawn Boys carried 89 North through the night, closing it out with the epic “Character Zero”.
It is no wonder why The Lawn Boys keep Phish phans coming back.
With the right music, any night of the year can feel like a Saturday in the middle of the summer and there is no up and coming band other than The Front Bottoms who would be better suited to turn a Thursday night show in January into the sweatiest dance party of the year. In two short years, I’ve seen this band go from playing for dozens of people to hundreds of people, and I am positive that the number will soon be in the thousands. Anyone who was lucky enough to make it into Thursday nights sold-out show knows what I mean, but we will save that for later.
The opening acts for this show were perfectly selected, and kept the anxious crowd more than satisfied as they waited for their favorite, quirky, New Jersey outfit to take the stage. Long Island locals, State Lines kicked the show off with an energetic pop-punk performance. Each song in their set was drenched with a wide array of influences. Some songs made me feel like I was watching a young Taking Back Sunday, and others, a young Green Day. Regardless, this band has it together and it will be exciting to see them grow into a sound that is completely their own.
Next up was You Blew It!, a band that has garnered tons of recent blogosphere hype with their own contributions to the so-called #emorevival. With their performance, they proved themselves worthy of every positive mention that they’ve received. This Florida ticket fits right in on Long Island, where emo never really left. Their set had faithful fans singing along, and newcomers falling in love with their rough-around-the-edges blend of indie and punk that demands to be heard. If it weren’t for the fact that The Front Bottoms were taking the stage next, I would have been happy to keep falling in love forever. You Blew It! played an eight song set that felt entirely too short and included songs from Medal of Honor to You & Me & Me, giving an equal amount of play time to each of their releases.
Finally it was time for The Front Bottoms to take the stage. The space was dense with sweat and anticipation in the time between sets. Everyone was ready. They kicked off their set with “Skeleton”, an unexpected but brilliant choice of an opener. With a backdrop made of a spraypainted sheet, an inflatable snowman, and overall disheveled appearance, The Front Bottoms live presence was as random and relaxed as the music itself. Nobody does not giving a damn quite as perfectly as these guys. As the band cruised through songs from both of their major releases, frontman Brian Sella provided the audience with several hilariously zany anecdotes throughout the set. Each song in the setlist provided a change in momentum. From dark and steady “Swimming Pool” to upbeat and schizophrenic “The Feud”, the start of every track brought something new to be excited about. Before long, The Front Bottoms were playing the last song of their set, “Flashlight” the iconic single off of their self-titled album. Of course, nobody was ready for the show to be over and the crowd begged for one more song, but got three. With “Twelve Feet Deep”, “Maps”, and “Twin Size Mattress”, The Front Bottoms gave the crowd a taste of the oldest, older, and most recent versions of the band, ending the night with as much momentum as it started with.
I consider myself lucky to have been at this incredible show at 89 North, because I wholeheartedly believe that The Front Bottoms shows are only going to get less and less intimate as time goes on. I also know that no matter how much well-deserved recognition this band gets, and no matter how old I get, seeing them play will always feel like attending the best high-school house party ever.
The Long Island local scene proved that it knows how to party last Friday, January 11th. Maybe they were celebrating the end of the Polar Vortex, or maybe they were just excited to see four incredible acts from right outside their doors performing, but the house packed out for This Damn Universe, Aqua Cherry, Dune Local, and The Warden And Fame.
The show kicked off with the electro act, This Damn Universe. Their high-energy set and enthusiastic front man made it easy for the growing crowd to get excited for the rest of the night. Combining old school synthesizing effects with pop-rock like vocals, This Damn Universe provided an electronic set that was a nice contrast to the typical EDM scene of today.
Next up was Aqua Cherry with a funky rock and roll set. Although a drastic genre departure from the electro-beats of This Damn Universe, Aqua Cherry did have something else in common with the opening act-fun. Their set got the crowd moving with a unique blend of reggae-infused funk that was nothing short of exciting.
Halfway through the show, it was apparent that leaving home in the sub-zero temperatures was worth it to warm up with great craft-beer and even greater music. The third act of the night confirmed this. Dune Local provided an unbelievable set, defined by the sultry and sweet lead vocals backed up by a groovy band. Claiming that they draw influence from the likes of Sublime and the Black Keys, the band delivered a musically on-point set which spanned genres from blues to reggae to punk.
To close out the incredible show were the legends of the local hip-hop scene, The Warden and Fame. To the surprise of nobody, this outfit delivered a blast of face melting reggae, a perfect end to the night. The Warden and Fame have bounced around Long Island and national festivals for the better part of the past few years, but their performance at 89 North proved that they are anything but stale. Combining hip-hop with reggae and rock was the perfect way to tie the ends of this show, which showcased the best of Long Island over a span of different genres.
It was an incredible night to realize that music of all kinds can come together in the same place and be appreciated by the same people. We’re all just looking for a good time, and that is exactly what live-music provided for the fans at 89 North on this Saturday.