• Guilty Guide

Pet Sounds [Not Really] At Pet Shop: Cheap Horse and The Lo-Fi's

[pet shop photo credit: Mishka Time]


Autumn’s starting to creep in. The days are growing shorter as a gentle loving breeze passes along the bustling Jersey City waterfront. Nostalgic weather wonder whirls its way inland, cooling off the night life beginning to glimmer on Newark Ave. Roads blocked and painted green for the leisured convenience of cheery pedestrians, I walk among the downtown urbanites, heading to Pet Shop for a show.


Portraits of animals painted in a variety of visual styles are scattered across the wall in the back of the bar, where the PA and sound gear are being set up for tonight’s gig. A Demolition Man pinball machine stands behind a staircase leading down to a supplemental wine bar; locals continue to pour in as time passes.


Only two bands were playing tonight, the first of which was Cheap Horse. A well-rehearsed garage rock outfit, the band swept through a solid set of blown out pub-power-pop. Their tone was a bit swollen and overbearing, muffling the intricacy to their playing and almost completely muting the vocalist; but, what do I expect from a bar’s acoustics. The lead singer sprung about the space, grooving vivaciously to the music, putting everyone in good spirits. The band touched across various vanilla genres of rock; a dash of punk, indie, and a dab of psych were heard throughout. All-in-all the set was solid, only suffering from the sonic limitations of the compact performance space.


Next were The Lo-fi’s, a Union City based indie-rock band. Wearing their aesthetic on their sleeve, the band lives up to their name by touting a reverb drench tone that only helped to enhance the pleasance of their glistening surf-rock style. Dreamy and sentimental, spacious lead guitar trilled over the lead singer/bassist’s solid tone and warm throaty vocals. Drums were bright and punchy as the band played to a cheerful and responsive crowd. Songs varied in tempo and style, with faster tracks taking on a surf/new wave vibe, as the guitarist belted out howling damp solos. With a touch of indie mope, the lead singer would shift his vocal tone from a somber moan to a controlled yell - great energy and sustained momentum. The group touched my heart with their dorky demeanor, best exemplified when the lead singer played the balmy melody to the Nintendo Wii’s Mii Channel Theme. A bit short in length, their set was sweet and memorable. A random patron who stopped by to grab dinner spoke to me after the show, gushing over how fantastic their music was. I look forward to their next date in Jersey.

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