Music

N.J. pop-punkers Halogens rage with honesty in Montclair

If you’re one for irony, here’s a goodie — a band called Halogens unscrewed the lone lightbulb illuminating its stage and thrashed in the dark.

The New Jersey pop-punk outfit was brightened only by fans’ cell phone flashlights — 100 or so in the sweltering basement of Montclair’s Meat Locker — as it launched into an explosive cover of Modern Baseball’s “Your Graduation.”

A wild sing-along, mosh pit and stage diving ensued — part and parcel for one of the local scene’s more volatile acts.

Halogens

Tim Wuestneck (bass) sings harmony to Zach Henry (vocals, guitar) during Halogens’ cover of “Your Graduation” by Modern Baseball at the Meat Locker in Montclair on June 23, 2016.

The four-piece from Wall kept fans in a frenzy all night Wednesday with high-octane hooks driving their brutally honest lyrics — the kind of stuff you can happily scream along to, but a closer listen leaves a knot in your stomach.

Since its 2011 inception, Halogens has built a strong local following through raucous basements and backyard shows. In January, the band joined the roster at Mayflower Collective, a DIY label based in Eatontown.

The small crowd packed the underground venue (literally and figuratively) known for its blankets of graffiti and band stickers. On a tiny stage at the far end of the building, Halogens started its set with the fervently fun “Run Around” from its self-titled EP released in January. Each of the band’s choruses seem to coast not only on a trilling, intense guitar riff, but on an overtly emotive aesthetic.

From his denouncement of the existence of God to worries that his mother won’t ever be proud of him, Zach Henry sings — and screams — with a palpable sense of anguish.

“Was I everything you needed in an idol?” he asked on “Olive Garden, Pt. 2.” “Was I the best big brother that I could’ve been?” He soon lost himself in the band’s raging finale.

Charlie Throckmorton on guitar, Tim Wuestneck on bass and George Saives on drums round out the Halogens lineup.

The group’s Facebook page lists Blink-182, Brand New and Jersey indie rockers The Front Bottoms as inspirations; the band even displays the the same fun guitar chug as the Jersey rockers in “Ayúdame!” A few fans commandeered the microphone for the song’s final verse.

Wednesday’s show was the halfway mark of Halogens’ month-long tour with Jersey-based punks Corrina, Corrina. The band will travel the East Coast and on July 23, Halogens will play perhaps its biggest show yet when it opens for English rock band Moose Blood at GameChanger World in Howell.

Oh, and they never turned the light back on.

*This story was originally published on NJ.com

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