Not far from Long Beach Island and just north of Atlantic City sits the small Ocean County town of Tuckerton. In that town stands an old Victorian house that has had many purposes over its history. That house has been transformed into a one-of-a-kind concert venue called the Lizzie Rose Music Room. Since its opening in late 2013, both artists and patrons have constantly returned because of its uniqueness and charm.
In a 2019 video, Lizzie Rose regular artist Chris O’Leary praised the audiences that come out to performances in this small, intimate venue that seats no more than 70. “It’s always a rocking crowd,” he said. “It’s just a great place.” O’Leary’s band has played the venue a handful of times and will return for another engagement this September.
When Lizzie Rose’s founder Lou Reichert was looking to establish something that connected his love of live music to his Jersey Shore roots, he said it all started informally before building up into a full-scale venue.
“It was a very casual start,” he said. “There was this old Victorian building next to another Victorian — there were like four of them together right off Route 9. What happened was, the one building I was renting for a bicycle shop, and the Lizzie Rose building was right next door. I went over to the guy next door and asked him, ‘What do you think about doing some live music in here?’ He agreed, and that’s how it really started.”
Reichert’s mission was to bring top-quality live music down to his “neck of the woods,” and a small South Jersey coastal town is not somewhere would expect to find a great selection of different bands and acts. On any given week, one might find world music, blues, singer-songwriters and tribute bands performing at the Lizzie Rose. Reichert said that the variety of music is partially because of his own music taste.
“I don’t want to say it’s hundreds of artists (that have performed at Lizzie Rose), but it’s probably close to it,” Reichert said. “We try to mix it up a little bit. We try to get each genre every month, but sometimes we can’t. But we try to get little niches.”
Brandon “Taz” Niederauer
Based on their website, Lizzie Rose Music Room sometimes programs more than a dozen different events each month, including quite a few coming up in July. Two of the artists that are among the most exciting offerings at the venue this month are Brandon “Taz” Niederauer, who will perform July 19 and the Matt O’Ree Band July 22. Niederauer is making his Lizzie Rose debut while O’Ree is a regular of the venue.
At just 20 years old, Niederauer has already performed on some of the biggest stages in the world, from originating the role of Zack Mooneyham in “School of Rock – The Musical” on Broadway at the age of 12, to getting his chance to play at UBS Arena on Long Island. Niederauer is a full-time college student and plays gigs whenever he can catch a break from studying. The New Jersey native is excited to get his chance at playing the Lizzie Rose for the first time and paring down from performing at much larger venues.
“Playing Lizzie's is very important to me because in a room like this, the audience is right on top of the artist, and I can feel the energy and feed off of it,” Niederauer said. “In addition, the people who are in attendance are music lovers who understand the importance of seeing musicians who play at much larger venues up close and personal. This is a welcome throwback to when I was much younger playing at venues this size. I know the house is going to rock!”
Then, three days later, Matt O’Ree and his band will arrive at Lizzie Rose. This band, like Niederauer, has roots in New Jersey, especially in the more northern Jersey Shore communities such as Asbury Park. In June, the band toured Europe, playing concerts in Italy and Spain, but in July, they return to the United States and will start playing more local venues. O’Ree is a former backup guitarist for Bon Jovi, and because of that, the band has acquired some big-name fans. They are always willing to play smaller venues like the Lizzie Rose.
“The Lizzie Rose Music Room is one of New Jersey‘s performance venue gems,” O’Ree said. “An incredible, intimate setting and a really great experience for all to hear original music. We’ve been out on tour for most of 2023 with a brand-new record out titled ‘Hand in Glove.’ Coming home to play the Lizzie Rose is something we are really looking forward to.”
Matt O’Ree Band
Other highlights on the venue’s July schedule include the rock group Michael Allman Band July 8, “the queen of blues rock guitar” Joanna Connor July 9, Grammy-nominated blues artist Victor Wainwright July 13, and Sheryl Crow tribute band Chrissie Crow July 21. All of these artists showcase the eclectic mix of sounds that Reichert is so passionate about, creating a space where all types of sound are welcome.
Part of the reason why artists enjoy playing the Lizzie Rose so much is the unique sound structure that gives the room a signature vibe. Right above the stage in this old Victorian house, a 30-foot opening allows sound to travel in directions that larger, newer venues cannot offer. Reichert credits that as to why artists want to play the Lizzie Rose as often as they can.
“The sound comes up, comes down, and one musician said, ‘This is amazing,’” Reichert said. “The acoustics in here, the interplay that we enjoy, you don’t find that at a lot of locations. We’ve had a number of fans who have just said, ‘Wow.’”
The secret is out about the Lizzie Rose Music Room. It may be quirky and nestled in a very small town, but people are coming from long distances to see the diverse talent the venue books monthly. O’Ree invites all to check out his group for their concert.
“Come join us for the evening on July 22nd to hear all the new songs and tales of how we wrote them,” he said. “We may even share some stories from the road. It’s always a great time at the Lizzie Rose and we really hope to see you all there!”