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ROCK ON! This Week's Sound Bites...10/23/14

By Danny Coleman

originally published: 10/23/2014
"It is wide open. it's made up of all these different parts. There's a very cool indie underground, metal, rock scenes too. The hip kids seem to be in the city while the blue collar scene is more on the outskirts; the days of Hammerjacks are still hanging on," says the lead singer Niki Barr of the Baltimore, MD area based band The Last Year as she described their hometown music scene and prepare to launch a tour with Neon Hitch. Prior to departing, the band will be making their first ever appearance in NJ at the "Sinners and Saints Ball" at the Hebe Music Lounge inside Big Shots Bar & Grill on Route 130 in Burlington County.

Forming from the remnants of her self titled Niki Barr Band several years ago, The Last Year began as many groups do; with a side collaboration between it's members. "Scott (bassist Scott Ensign) and I were in the Niki Barr Band together. So this band began because we started writing some stuff on the side with these pop, synth type sounds. Things just kind of evolved from there and we added our drummer BJ Kerwin and guitarist Scott Griffith who we've worked with in the past."

Describing the group's music as "'90's alternative/grunge rock mixed with '80's Depeche Mode type stuff," The Last Year has a character all its own. "We are heavy but we need space," she explained. "We have such a wide range of influences that it's tough to really pin us down to one sound."

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The upcoming tour with Neon Hitch is new to the band but is far less dangerous than others. Previously as members of the Niki Barr Band, they played for our troops an a tour of Afghanistan and the Middle East. "Yeah, it was scary," she said. "We did eight different tours that took us to the Middle East and Europe. We went to places that we never thought we'd ever see; it was cool and very interesting yet uneasy at times. I was on a plane on Saudi Air and I think my hair was blue at the time; receiving strange looks from men on the flight, due to their beliefs and culture was not the easiest. Then when we got there and it is a war zone but we were treated like Generals so it wasn't bad. We felt pretty safe but one night there was some shelling and we were sent to a bunker. We were in there with Tom Arnold who was doing the comedy portion of the shows and let me tell you; he's crazy but in a good way. I mean we were huddled together with all this stuff going on and he was so funny. The scariest part though was after when we were taken by a Blackhawk helicopter to a remote location in Afghanistan for the show. I get motion sickness to begin with and we are up in this helicopter and we felt like sitting ducks. We were above all of these villages and we could look down and see where and how these people live; scary thing was that any of them could've had a rocket launcher and shot us down. There were soldiers on the Blackhawk with guns but still, you never know."

Neon Hitch is a different story however, as Barr says that it will be a learning experience for both acts as they are not familiar with one another. "This kind of fell into our laps. This was brought to us by our new agent. We are only familiar with the stuff from pop radio but it sounds very interesting and we are really looking forward to seeing and touring with her."

Their self-titled EP has spawned the single "Sugar" which has received airplay from FM and XM channels all across the country and can be found on the band's youtube channel as well but they are not stopping there says Barr. "We start recording our full length CD this week and we are hoping for a January release. We are very excited, a lot of great stuff happening for us right now."

Barr says that the band is "Stoked" to be playing the Hebe Music Lounge at Big Shots and making their first ever appearance here in the Garden State. "Oh yeah! We are going to play lots of new music, there will be high energy with lighting as dynamic as we can get it. It is important to us that we put on a punchy rock show!"

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You can check out The Last Year at and Hebe Music Lounge at .

That's it for this week! Please continue to support live and original music and until next week....ROCK ON!


Alchemist & Barrister

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28 Witherspoon Street Princeton
(609) 924-5555

Thurs. 10 p.m. Paul Plumeri Band

Sun. 9 p.m. Kenny Cunningham

Wed. 10 p.m. Open mic. night

All shows 21+

Amalfi's Restaurant

146 Lawrenceville-Pennington Rd. Lawrenceville

(609) 912-1599

Sat. 8 p.m. Kim Yarson Band

Amarones Windsor Inn

29 Church St. Windsor

(609) 448-7144

Thurs. 6:30 p.m. Scott Gager & Debbie

Fri. 8 p.m. Larry D

Sat. 8 p.m. Tony Malandro

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Tues. 7:30 p.m. Texas Hold'em

Wed. 7 p.m. FREE Salsa Lessons

Big Shots Bar and Grill/Hebe Music Lounge

835 E Rte. 130 South, Burlington

(609) 267-1200

Fri. 7 p.m. Jack and Our Now, Stonebaby, Danielle and Jennifer

Sat. 7 p.m. "Sinners and Saints Ball" feat. The Last Year, Laletta, Siravo, The Division

Wed. 7 p.m. Open Mic. feat. David Bronson

Blend Bar & Bistro

911 Highway 33, Hamilton

(609) 245-8887

Sat. 9 p.m. ZQ Acoustic-Mike & Steve

Tues. 8 p.m. Triviajam

Candlelight Lounge
24 Passaic St. Trenton
(609) 695-9612

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Sat. 3 p.m. Duane Eubanks Trumpet Quartet. (No cover-$10 minimum)

Chambers Walk Cafe
2667 Main St. Lawrenceville
(609) 896-5995

Fri./Sat. 6 p.m. Dick Gratton

The Backstage at Championship Bar
931 Chambers St. Trenton

Thurs. 6 p.m. Nailed Shut, Obturated, Nuclear Age, (TBA). All ages, $10

Fri. 4 p.m. "Halloween Havoc" Beyond Dishonor, Guns Out at Sundown, Proletariat, Extractus, Premonitions, (TBA). All ages, $10

Sat. 5 p.m. Divination, Sicada, Orcus, Sentience, Half-Ton of Humanity, Morbid Visions, Eye of Anubis. All ages, $10

Sun. 4 p.m. Low Life, Strength Approach, Menace, Nebraska Bricks, Guttersnipe, (TBA). All ages, $10

Chickie's & Pete's

183 US Highway 130 North Bordentown

(609) 298-9182

Tues. 8 p.m. Acoustic Music Night feat. The Dawgs

Dubh Linn Square
167 Rte. 130 North Bordentown
(609) 298-7100

Sun. 4 p.m.Billy O'neal

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Tues. 9 p.m. Open Mic. Night hosted by Shaun Ruymen

Wed. 9 p.m. Trivia Night

Fran's Pub

116 S. Main St. New Hope, Pa.


Sat. 8 p.m. Sixty Sense

Sun. 3 p.m. Mr. Lucky

Mon. 8 p.m. Open Mic Blues Jam hosted by Jimmy Pritchard

All shows 21+

Havana New Hope
105 S. Main St. New Hope, Pa.
(215) 862-9897

Thurs. (8 p.m.) E in AZ (10 p.m.) Beat the Clock College Night DJ Dance Party

Fri. 8:30 p.m. Bigg Romeo

Sat. 9 p.m. "Zombie Prom" feat. E in AZ

Sun. (1 p.m.) John Eddie Halloween Show w/ E in AZ (7:30) JB Kline Band w/ E in AZ

Mon. (8 p.m.) E in AZ (10 p.m.) "Scary-oke in the Bar w/ DJ Ron Sherr and Bridget

Tues. 8 p.m. "Tuesday Original Music Series" feat. Nytrous w/ E in AZ

Wed. 8 p.m. Pat Foran and Friends

All shows 21+

Ivy Tavern
3108 S. Broad Street, Hamilton
(609) 888-1435

Fri. 10 p.m. Kindred Spirit

Sat. 10 p.m. Soul Custody
All shows 21+

John & Peter's
96 S. Main St. New Hope, Pa.
(215) 862-5981

Thurs. 9 p.m. Strangled Darlings

Fri. 9 p.m. Redwood

Sat. (3 p.m.) The Trip Dogs (9 p.m.) Sugar Burns

Sun. (2 p.m.) "Miss Pumpkin's Drag Show Halloween Edition" Benefits Animal Alliance. (9 p.m.) Buggaboo

Mon. 9 p.m. Open Mic. Night

Tues. 9 p.m. Redrover Halloween Dance Party and Costume Contest

Wed. 9 p.m. The Invitational
All shows 21+

JoJo's Tavern

2677 Nottingham Way Hamilton

(609) 586-2678

Wed. 10 p.m. Karaoke

Palermo's Of Hamilton
310 Klockner Rd. Hamilton
(609) 838-7979

Thurs. 9 p.m. Karaoke

All shows 21+

Patriot's Crossing

1339 River Rd. Titusville

(609) 737-2780

Fri. 7:30 p.m. Andrea Carlson

Pete's Steak House
523 Whitehorse Ave. Hamilton
(609) 585-8008

Fri. 9:30 p.m. Ernie White & Tom Reock

Sat. 9:30 p.m. No Way Out

RHO Waterfront

50 Riverview Plaza Trenton

(609) 393-7300

Thurs. 9 p.m. College Night w/ DJ Bob E Luv

Fri. (4:30 p.m.) Happy Hour w/ DJ Coqui (9 p.m.) The Verdict

Sat. 9 p.m. TCNJ Homecoming w/ DJ Paul DeSisto. $5 (cover charge)

All Shows 21+

Sunsets at Cream Ridge

181 Rte. 539 Cream Ridge

(609) 208-2500

Fri. 9:30 p.m. Melanie and Sonny

Sat. 9:30 p.m. Tangled

Tavern On The Lake

101 Main St. Hightstown
(609) 426-9345

Fri. 9 p.m. Pretty Baby

Sat. 9 p.m. Anything Goes

Wed. 8 p.m. Karaoke Night

The Ivy Inn

248 Nassau St. Princeton

(609) 921-8555

Thurs. 10 p.m. Karaoke w/ Ron Sherr

Fri. 10 p.m. Rainbow Fresh

Sat. 10 p.m. DJ Fatha Ramzee

Tues. 8 p.m. Quizzo w/ Bob E Luv

Wed. 10 p.m. Karaoke w/ Ron Sherr

The HOB Tavern

146 Second Street

(609) 291-7020

Wed. 9 p.m. Cold Rain and Snow

The Sticky Wicket
2465 South Broad St. Hamilton
(609) 439-0007

Fri. 9 p.m. Out of The Red

Sat. 9 p.m. (TBA)

All shows 21+

The Sun National Bank Center
81 Hamilton Ave. Trenton
(609) 656-3200

Check web site for upcoming events

Tir Na Nog
1324 Hamilton Ave. Trenton
(609) 392-2554

Fri. 5 p.m. Tommy Glover

Sat. 9 p.m. Some Assembly Required

Tues. 9 p.m. Jerry Monk

All shows 21+

Trenton Social

449 South Broad Street Trenton

(609) 989-7777

Thurs. 8 p.m. Cinema Thursdays Presents: "Science Team"

Fri. 10 p.m. Friday night w/ Jay Kountree & Jaxx

Mon. 10 p.m. Service Industry Night w/ DJ-Jay Kountree

Triumph Brewing Company (New Hope, Pa. Location)
400 Union Square New Hope, Pa.
(215) 862-8300

Fri. 10 p.m. Only Living Boy. $5 (cover charge)

Sat. 10 p.m. Levee Drivers. $5 (cover charge)

Sun. 7 p.m. Open Jam Night

Tues. 9 p.m. Acoustic Grateful Dead feat. members of Splintered Sunlight

All shows 21+

Wildflowers Inn

2572 Pennington Rd. Pennington

Sat. 9 p.m. Live Acoustic Rock
Mon. 9 p.m. Karaoke

Danny Coleman is a veteran musician and writer from central New Jersey. He hosts a weekly radio program entitled “Rock On Radio” airing Sunday evenings at 7:000pm EST on multiple internet radio outlets where he features indie/original bands and solo artists.



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