April 1st 2018 Sorority Noise, Remo Drive, Jelani Sei and Animal Flag @ House of Independents, Asbury Park NJ.
On April 1st, 2018, Sorority Noise played their final New Jersey show for the foreseeable future. Back in March, the band announced they would be going on hiatus after their spring US/UK tours.
I count myself among the many who hold Sorority Noise close to the heart. My first experience with the band happened almost four years ago on a muggy August day after an all-day backyard festival got moved into a basement–a space that I would eventually co-run as a venue. We knew it was kinda weird to hold a show in the beautiful white carpeted basement of an upper-middle-class home somewhere in the suburbia of NJ. I think we all were afraid no one would show up.
However, by the time Sorority Noise played, sixty kids were rocking out in the basement. At the time, the band was touring with their original line up. In between sets, Cam performed acoustically for My Parent’s Basement Sessions out on the trampoline in the backyard (which is still on Youtube and currently has 30K+ views). To this day, this show will always be among my favorites.
It amazes me how much Sorority Noise accomplished since that show. Since then, the band has released three more LPs and a handful of EPs and singles. The group went from touring in one of their mother’s minivans to travelling the world and playing shows at sold-out venues. But one thing that hasn’t changed since then how genuine and humble each member has remained.
Doors weren’t until seven but by 6:00 there was already a line down the street. I couldn’t help but notice how young some of the kids were–I even overheard a fourteen-year-old mention they started listening to Sorority Noise at age eleven. It is really cool to see their music bringing out such young kids who all share similar interests. It would have significantly impacted my life if I had something like that when I was that age.
The first band to play was Animal Flag from Boston Massachusetts. They started off the night with a very solid set–their first night of the tour. The vocals sounded a bit like Conor Oberst and accompanied great songwriting. I admired the way the songs combined both very soft melodies with what could almost be considered breakdowns. During their set, Animal Flag drew attention to a donation box at their merch table for the Coalition Against Gun Violence, a topic the band briefly touched upon much to the loud crowd’s approval. The band expressed their view of showing compassion even for those whose views may be polarizing and unagreeable. Animal Flag ended their set with three new songs off their upcoming album “Void Ripper” that will be released through Flower Girl Records (run by Sorority Noise’s own Cam Boucher) and Triple Crown Records on April 13th.
Jelani Sei is by far one of the most intriguing bands out right now. Their jazzy, lo-fi pop style elicits a wide range of reactions from their listeners, whether that is relaxing, dancing or moshing. The pop style vocals blend beautifully with both the hard-hitting rhythm section and the ambient, dreamy guitar tones. Each members’ talents shined through as did their ability to execute intricate time changes while keeping the songs simple. If you haven’t already listened to this band, I would recommend checking them out right now.
Up next was an energetic and pop filled set from crowd favorite Remo Drive. The band released their debut full-length record “Greatest Hits” last year, and it quickly became my favourite release of 2017. Still, Remo Drive surpassed my expectations and delivered a solid, clean set. As soon as the band took the stage, the crowd erupted into a large pushpit as people began crowd surfing their way to the stage. The band ended the set with my two personal favorite songs “I Am My Own Doctor” and “Yer Killn’ Me”. Before I knew it, their set was over. It left me wanting more.
As the venue went dark, the crowd began to cheer as Sorority Noise took to the stage for the last time in Jersey. They started their set off with “Blissth” and ended with “No Halo” , but between these tracks was about an hour of raw emotion and high energy. Sorority Noise has always been one of my favorite bands to photograph no matter the venue or the size of the crowd–they always put on excellent live performances. Between dodging stage divers and taking photos, I was singing along to each song with a big smile on my face.
Witnessing the growth and diversity of Sorority Noise’s fanbase over the course of only a few years is something quite remarkable. It is an incredible sight to see so many people who have grown to love the band, and how their lyrics have impacted every one of them. Cam’s emotional lyrics and vocals mixed with the band’s screeching guitar riffs and pop melodies is something that is even more powerful when seeing it live. True to their humble selves, the band thanked everyone who came out and has supported them over the years as well as their families and friends.
Overall, Sorority Noise’s set was everything I could hope for and more from a final live performance.