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Northern State at Amityville Music Hall- Amityville, NY

northern state

A Monday night gig deep in Long Island is not an easy event to get to. Island Girl asked a stack of us to attend her cousin’s show and I was happy to oblige. I didn’t know their name, their genre, the venue, the directions, or how bad traffic would be getting there. The plan was to leave in the afternoon to avoid the traffic but life got in the way and the 90-minute drive took 130 minutes. I got to town in time to do some work and get a bite before finding the Amityville Music Hall. It sounds bigger than it is. Essentially it is a long narrow bar with an adjacent and equally narrow room that served as the performance space. A small stage that was cozy for a five-piece band would have had trouble with anything larger. Simple lighting and adequate sound mean the music was a feature fit into the space but not a major destination.

We walked into the sound of a male singer and his guitar playing to a small young crowd. Island Girl introduces her cousins including the one who would be playing. His band is called Northern State and they would be on soon. Each of the four bands would play 20-minute sets. I started to do the math; travel time vs performance time. One extra person in the audience is amazing when you’re on stage and I was happy to support these bands. Most of them were friends with each other from music school and the crowd was made up of family and friends. The scattered family members skewed the average age slightly higher but it stayed in the early twenties range. Upon arrival, we were given wristbands and were later told these meant we were over 21. We weren’t carded but it was obvious relative to the other patrons.

The band came on stage and faced a few tech issues including a busted bass amp but managed to stay strong and power through an energetic set. There were punk and hardcore vibes as well as some emo vibes. Lots of single-stroke drum rolls and power chords. The songs were straight ahead at some points but also highlighted some complexity, melodic guitar layers, and head-bop-worthy rhythms. I couldn’t make out a single word of the songs but that was true for most bands we saw. I will have to dive into their few recorded tracks and probably should have done so before writing this.

I spoke with the guitarist/ cousin after the gig to get a sense of their influences. He mentioned New Found Glory as an influence for himself and the singer but also said the bassist and drummer were big jamband fans. That was a surprise. They hugged the family members and packed gear. Island Girl and I stayed for the last two bands before I headed home. The night was interesting for sure and I’m glad I drove out for the music. It was local bands playing a local venue for friends and family. They’re living the dream. Being on stage, beyond just impressing friends, is a rush and a validation of all the hours spent practicing. Northern State may not be headlining any festivals in the next year but if they play as often as possible they will get the experience needed to succeed.

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