On Feb. 24, AudioSpace, a student-run musical venue, staged a basement show featuring three local bands: Robert’s Basement, Mandrax and JJAG. The event was a small, but energetic occasion that attracted a diverse audience.
JJAG, a psychedelic rock and punk rock band from Philadelphia, was the first to take the stage. They opened their concert with some cover songs, which were well-received by the crowd. Despite the lack of moshing and leaping around due to the calm vibes of their tunes, JJAG performed a great concert that highlighted their musical talent. Their originals had a distinct sound that the audience enjoyed.
JJAG was followed by Mandrax, whose sound was radically different from that of the prior band. Theirs was more energetic and less laid-back, and they displayed remarkable guitar talents. Mandrax consists of frontman Richie Borman on guitar, Eric Amorelli on bass, Anthony “Ant” Trimarco on drums and Aidan Deke on guitar. They have been friends since childhood, save for Amorelli, who met Borman in high school. Amorelli’s acquaintance with AudioSpace co-leader and Earth on Fire drummer, Ryan DeCesare, made the band’s debut appearance at AudioSpace feasible.
“I’ve been playing with them [Mandrax] since 2020 and we’ve just all become so close and it’s brought us together and we’ve all become a really important part of each other’s lives,” said junior music education major, Amoralli.
Mandrax’s performance was a hit with the audience, with their music displaying a unique blend of psychedelic rock, blues and funk. Borman’s guitar talents were particularly notable, as he alternated between complicated chords and deep melodies with ease. The band members’ chemistry was palpable, and they fed off each other’s enthusiasm.
“We have a lot of different psych-rock influences like Pink Floyd and the Mars Volta,” said Amorelli. “Everybody in the band is an individual, and we all bring something unique and important to the band. So I think the combination of that and our sound tends to stand out.”
The last band to take the stage was Robert’s Basement, another psychedelic rock/pop band, whose music and visual performance left a lasting impression. Their music stood out from the rest of the bands with their catchy tunes and infectious melodies. However, it was their visual performance that really stole the show.
“As far as our music goes, it’s very, very surreal and psychedelic for sure. We try to be really short of your conscience, I guess. Our music can make you think a little bit more,” said Rudy Kreutzer, a member of the band and sophomore at Rowan.
The band members dressed up in all-black full spandex bodysuits, adding a theatrical element to their performance. The crowd was captivated by their unique style, and the band’s energy was contagious.
“I mean, we put on a musical act and a visual act as well. Try to really grab your attention and really bring you into a different world and specifically, that seems great,” said Kreutzer. “There are a ton of really cool bands as well too. So it’s really cool to try to pair yourself with other acts and get together and collaborate with other bands.”
The music of Robert’s Basement was refined, with well-crafted tunes and great vocal harmonies. Their music was distinctive and infectious, and the audience moshed along to some of their songs. The band’s performance was the perfect cap to an evening of outstanding live music.
Katherine Coffey, a junior international studies major and frequent attendant of these basement performances, spoke highly of JJAG.
“I loved it. I just love their style. I’ve seen a lot of shows where they do covers and everything like that. And tonight was really special because they definitely played their own stuff,” said Coffey. “So I really enjoyed them. I love going to these shows around Rowan.”
She described the event as having a terrific environment with everyone enjoying the music and having a good time. These basement performances provide a means for her to engage with the local music scene and find new musicians.
The concert was a success overall, with each band giving an exceptional performance. AudioSpace provided a fantastic platform for budding musicians to display their skills, and the audience appreciated the chance to hear live music in a more compact setting. The event served as a reminder of the value of supporting local musicians and venues, as well as the impact that live music can have on a community.
You can stay up to date for more concerts hosted by AudioSpace by following them on Instagram @audiospace. To listen to their bands’ music and see their next show follow them all at @mandraxtheband, @jagtheband, and @robertsbasement on Instagram.
Robert’s Basement, Mandrax and JJAG performed at AudioSpace’s Psych Night. – Staff Photographer / Dayna Stauts (@dss.studios)