Two New Jersey-based bands made their sophomore appearances at the Rathskeller on Friday, Sept. 4, during a night that satisfied both rockers and folkies alike.
Headliner River City Extension’s inordinate compilation of guitars, bass, violin, keys, vocals and percussion was impossible to ignore.
The band, comprised of frontman Joe Michelini, John Muccino, Mike Costaney, Colin Dimeo, Patrick O’Brien and Rebecca Schlappich, played songs like “Our New Intelligence” and “Holy Cross” off its first full-length album, “The Unmistakable Man,” which caught the attention of indie label XOXO Records in 2010.
Two years later, it performed at the College alongside Accidental Seabirds.
This time around, one particularly special individual was in the audience.
“Brett, raise your hand,” Michelini said as he introduced his younger brother to the crowd. “Brett is a freshman here. Everyone, solemnly swear that if you see him on campus and you happen to recognize him, make sure no one fucks with him.”
“The closest I’ll ever get to having kids is giving birth to rock and roll,” Michelini added.
In April, the band sequestered itself in a lodge in the Poconos rigged to act as a recording studio to work on its upcoming album “Deliverance.”
“There is no way for anyone to duplicate any of our songs unless they record them in that house,” pianist O’Brien said.
“That house is a real part of this album. It was the most stress-free recording experience I’ve ever had. We really just needed to get far away from everything, get off the grid, so we could just be us.”
Michelini got up close and personal with his fans, jumping into the crowd to dance during a long instrumental break in the show.
After the set ended and the band left, the audience summoned it back with the unusual chant of “six more songs!” The band only played one, though — “Friends and Family.”
Opener Pine Barons also made a comeback after emerging victoriously from the Battle of the Bands, co-sponsored by CUBRat and WTSR in April.
With Keith Abrams and Brad Pulley on guitar and vocals, Collin Smith on drums and vocals and Shane Hower on bass and percussion, the band opened with songs from its first self-titled EP, such as “Don’t Believe What They Told You” and “Black Matter,” which begins with a haunting harmony between Abrams and Pulley.
“Coming back to your campus has been so great,” Pulley said. “There were so many more people this time. The sound quality is awesome in here, too.”
This summer, the self-described psych-folk-harmonious-americana-rock and roll band began recording demos and working on producing its first full-length album.
The band utilized a tambourine and maracas in its set, highlighting its new and distinctivie sound.
Pine Barons was recently featured in The Deli Magazine and is in the running to be the next New York City Artist of the Month.
According to the band’s website, “these four heroes devote themselves to the mission of spreading rock ’n‘ roll, good times, jokes, high fives and hot sauce to friends around the world.”
*This story was originally published in The Signal.