Sept. 30th marked the 60s night for The Bramble House, a concert venue organized here near campus, as they featured four different bands in their basement venue. The four bands set to play were Novocaine, Your Shape Undone, Swanson, and Surf’s Up. Doors opened at 7 p.m. and from 8 p.m. till midnight, the house’s foundation rocked with groovy tunes. Before the show, many of the musicians hung outside on the porch watching the bell bottom, tie-dye accoutred fans pile in while relaxing on a psychedelic cushioned sofa.
Guitarist Tom Bradway of Surf’s Up praised meditation as a great way to unwind before a set. Although unassuming and laidback in his appearance, one could see the deliberation and attention to detail Bradway was ready to assert into the performance. Also, one could not help but compare the dragon-adorned red pants he wore and his long curly black hair to the late great Jimmy Paige.
Surf’s Up bassist Charles Ramsden proclaimed his joy at being a part of The Bramble House and its performances.
“It just gets better and better each time we do it,” said Ramsden. “There’s nothing like the energy in there compared to the big-time venues. I will always love the basement setting.”
Ramsden is a favorite among residents of The Bramble House and is often seen in his majestic band-patched, denim jacket.
Novacaine started out the lineup exploding onto the scene with their punk riffs. Their frontman, Nick Esposito, also known as “Wavy Gravy”, laid down his lyrics with unmatched ferocity and angst. Esposito did not miss out on the 60s dress as his red bandana bore reminiscence of Joe Walsh’s Hotel California performance with the Eagles. Diego Zazu’s evocative basslines matched perfectly with drummer Pat Stokes’ warm pounding drumwork. Novocaine describes their music as “gremlin grunge” from Northeast Philly. They are scheduled on Oct. 14th to perform at Sweeney’s Philly Pub.
Deanne Valentine, singer of Your Shape Undone, did not hesitate to dive headfirst into the moment. Her singing proved to be cathartic, powerful, and enchanting. Valentine’s lung capacity is comparable only to that of Hayley Williams of Paramore. Guitarist Dylan Sutton laid out melodic guitar solos throughout the performance utilizing a beautiful combination of delay and echo effects from his pedal board. George Shammas, the bassist, stuck around after the show to sell merchandise near the door and to show fans the group’s Instagram.
When Swanson came onto the scene, drummer Nick Bsales wasted no time in tightening the groove. With a Pink Floyd guitar strap wrapped around his head in lieu of a bandanna, Bsales eviscerated the kit with the mastery of John Bonham. Evan Ayrer on bass and Alan Dececco on guitar equally matched their drummer’s energy.
During the performance, fellow concertgoer Alfonso Demaio led others in the crowd to fuse the energy of Swanson into themselves as his free-flowing dance and emblematic hand gestures inspired others to become one with the music. Concertgoer and Rowan student Madison Ranieri brought out red love sunglasses to perfectly match the 60s vibe.
“Everyone’s energy was incapacitating. Genuinely the best house show I’ve been to in a while,” said Ranieri.
Surf’s Up would cap off the night with classic covers like Santana’s Oye Como Va and Hendrix’s Voodoo Child. Singer Derek Fitzgerald would maintain the momentum as many fans moshed and head-bumped to his lyrics. Guitarist Jacob Grossman would perfectly replicate the distorted Hendrix sound in Voodoo Child, and Bradway would live up to his Paige persona on the cover of Zeppelin’s Dazed and Confused—long, warbled solo included. Then lastly, the band would end on a staple cover of Mountain’s Mississippi Queen. After the performance, the crowd begged for more, to which the band teased with notable riffs, but were altogether shot from a long night of music.
The Bramble House was able to give some insight into how they go about organizing their concert venues and how they pick their bands.
“Getting bands to play depends on the theme of the show, usually. Setting up this time we did it a bit differently, the sound guy Mike bought a new mixer that he could control from his tablet and so that really helped compact the sound within the room,” said a representative from the venue. “Most bands will practice at the house when we’re not doing shows and we always make sure everything is organized and clean for audience members to walk freely throughout the house.”
The Bramble House will host a goth night on Friday, Oct. 13 with costumes encouraged, and are looking to do a Halloween event, titled, Brambleween. You can message them for more information about their venues and upcoming shows @thebramble_house on Instagram.
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