Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Behind the Scenes of The Bamboozle Break Contest

Bamboozle Break Contest Article   
By Paul Marino       
Videos filmed by Lauren Parks and Brittany Peters

The Bamboozle Festival; an annual three day long music event that showcases some of the most recognized and established names in the music industry, is celebrating its tenth anniversary since their inception and thus will be returning to its roots in Asbury Park, New Jersey.

With the likes of Blink-182, Bon Jovi, and, Skrillex headlining, on top of more potential bands and artists not yet announced for the show, the hype for the 18th through the 20th of May comes as no surprise. Ticket sales are racking up, with both excitement and disgust being discussed as a hot topic among us concert goers. But, while we all complain about a favorite artist not being on that list, or take days off from work and school to go see our favorite band play the main stage, and even start booking hotel rooms close by the venue, why haven’t we really heard about some of the up and coming bands playing their way for a shot to perform at one of the biggest festivals in the nation?

Since January these young bands have been in competition with each other, playing weekend shows, selling tickets with little profit other than getting their name out to the public. From solo artists to diverse bands fusing different styles and genres into one package, theirs has been a fight for chance to play alongside idols and a chance to make it in an industry few even consider possible to break through. For some, this contest is their first shot at glory, for others this is a retry from previous years of not making it, and for a select few who have won in the past, it is another chance to play at the Bamboozle.

Saturday, March 3rd I travelled to New Jersey to support the bands in the semi-finals of The Break contest. While pacing the rooms of the Stone Pony (where the first ever Bamboozle in 2003 took place) I met and spoke with a handful of artists; all easy-going and friendly, showing no signs of diva attitude or exaggeration. Even after the interview/intro videos my crew and I found ourselves conversing with almost all the artists about our favorite music and stories, among other things. It is apparent that this group is just as down-to-earth bunch really striving for their goals. It was a pleasure speaking with all of them and I wish them nothing but the best for their future in music; good luck to all.

The Finalists for The Stone Pony are: 
    Fixed At Zero
    Political Party Crashers
    Kid Felix
    Rachel Miller
    Xero Gravity
    Until Holy
    The Perfect Gentlemen
    A Balance Between
    Money Green Gang

Four piece from Wall, New Jersey Funky Punk Jam 

Bandmates Zach Henry and Charlie Throckmorton had recorded acoustic tracks well before becoming the band Halogens. After some time they came across drummer George Saives, who recorded some beats for them. After seeing how well George worked out they finalized the band by recruiting Tim Wuestneck on bass. They are influenced by bands like Umphrey's McGee, Blink-182, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and the Front Bottoms. Be on the look out for their first album, coming soon. Halogens will be advancing to the finals of the Break Contest.

Process of Fusion 
Five Piece Rock/Rap Experimental from Staten Island, New York 

Process of Fusion has successfully brought together Coheed & Cambria-like vocals with Linkin Park-esque rapping. Singer Justin Sarachik along with singer/bassist Patrick Wakie mix both rock and rap vocals with the guitars of Rose Couchon and Dylan Klein. Though unable to make it to the finals they have not slowed down on their music careers. Showcasing their newest song “Closer Then I Thought,” and performing a fantastic cover of the Incubus song “Pardon Me” were the first in many new things they have planned for themselves and their fans. Process of Fusion has been planning tours and shows in the coming months including one for The Broken Records Collective that occurred on March 10th at 9pm in the Lizard Lounge of Staten Island. The bands Facebook is also telling everyone to “keep June 22nd on your calendars!” Could this be a possible show, tour, album, or something entirely different? Visit their page for more updates and a look at where the band is heading in the future.

Rachel Miller
Solo Artist from Lodi, New Jersey Rock

Beginning her career at three years of age, she has been involved in music before she even started school. Being the only solo artist I saw, I must commend her bravery in tackling the stage alone. This is her first time playing in the Break Contest and has made it to the Regional Finals. She is an avid Green Day and My Chemical Romance fan and draws inspiration for her music from them as well as other artists. As an interesting fact, her original song “Johnny” was written about one of the Joker’s henchman from The Dark Knight movie’s opening scene. She is also in the process of recording a demo and says that she will be releasing a single soon so check out her Facebook to stay updated.


Silent Perfection 
Four piece from Hazlet, New Jersey Rock/Alternative/Acoustic 

Another band hailing from New Jersey, Silent Perfection uses every members vocal chops on top of their instrumental talent. Upon meeting them they allowed me to sample their music by giving me a demo and I must point out their astounding vocal range during their songs harmonies. Guitar is played and Main Vocals are sung by Jim Long, while Lead guitar is played by Robert Engel. Jordan Bowen is on the drums and Carmine Flumano rounds it up on bass. The band came together early 2011 and has not stopped performing since. Aside from the Break Contest they plan on playing more shows leading up to Bamboozle. Check out their facebook page for details. Silent Perfection has advanced to the Finals of The Break Contest.

Four piece from Fort Lee, New Jersey Alternative/Rock 

Suburbia hails from New Jersey like many of the other Semi-finalists from the Break Contest. Playing lead guitar and singing for the band is Zen Thomas, followed by Marco Rojas on Rhythm Guitar, Luis Pimental on Bass and Max Samouhos on Drums. Bassist Luis also plays the keyboard for the band. The band is influenced by Guns ‘N Roses, Aerosmith, and Muse, among others. The band unfortunately did not make it to the finals but check out their Facebook page to see where the band stands on moving forward.


Until Holy 
Five piece from Marlboro, New Jersey Metal

Until Holy was the last band I saw perform before I had to part ways with the Stone Pony. From their first song to their phenomenal cover of "Chop Suey" by System of a Down, Until Holy won over the crowd and the judges and moved on through to the finals of the Break contest. Going from a “regular” singing voice to gritty screaming howls is one of lead vocalists Mike Drake’s specialties as shown in the songs performed. The band is completed by Matt Herman on Bass, Artie Lee and Joe Capalbo both on Guitar, and Anthony Tritto on Drums. Until Holy also has a few tracks on iTunes, so if you like what you hear from Facebook or Reverbnation, go check it out.   


Kid Felix  
Six piece from Laurel Springs, New Jersey Rock
Kid Felix, which had its start in 2011, is composed of Singer Jake Falana, Guitarists John Ambrutis and Brett Hagen,  Keys Player Ken Baxter, Julian Ungerer on Bass, and John Szachewicz drumming it out. The band has made a stamp in Philly and hope, with the help of their first official EP, that they’ll be able to tour around reaching out to new fans. They will be advancing to the Break Contest Finals at the Stone Pony.

Six piece from New Jersey Hip-Hop/Hard Rock/Reggae

Forming toward the end of Vocalist AJ Mahyar’s freshman year of high school, X-Phaze consists of Blake Szostak on Guitar, Tim Henshaw on Bass, Alex Herbert on Drums, Austin Riddoux playing both the bongos and keyboard, and Denzil Chambers playing the Keytar. Though they are from the same high school the band is a mixed bag from different parts of New Jersey; Aj, Alex, Blake, and Tim are from Mendham, while Denzil and Austin are from Parsippany and Sea Girt, respectively. The band plays around with many genres including pop and reggae but mainly stick to a hip-hop/rock fusion. Though they did not make it to the finals in the Break Contest, they were chosen by Yuuzoo to perform at the Yuuzoo VIP tent at Bamboozle. They currently have a video for their song “Enemies” up on their Youtube channel. For more info on the band, check out their multitude of social media websites.

Xero Gravity 
Three piece from Marlboro, New Jersey Hard Rock/Metal 

Xero Gravity is made up of Guitarist Alex Peragine, Bassist/Vocalist Jack Rose, and Drummer Steven Rago, Fifteen, Fourteen, and Twelve years old respectively. During the Stone Pony Semi’s they pulled out all the stops and covered Seasons in the Abyss by Slayer, not an easy task. This fantastic cover, along with their natural talent and loyal fans, is what has brought them into the Finals of the Bamboozle Break Contest. Steven has played drums for four years, Jack has slapped bass for five, and Alex has played guitar for around six years. Collectively they have been a band for a half a year.

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