I'd love to tell you the weather was lovely and the birds were out singing, that spring was in the air and it was all around beautiful out as the second season of Groove on Grove got underway.
But I’ll be honest: The rain held out just long enough for Higgins and Any Day Parade to get out and do their thing at the Grove Street PATH plaza. That’s the best we could have hoped for, with the way the weather’s been the last few weeks. But even with the impending doom of Wednesday night’s rainstorm bearing down on us like Smokey on a brush fire (excuse the bad pun!), everyone was out in good spirits.
I hit the scene at 6 pm exactly and was greeted by (Dancin’) Tony Susco, the host of Groove on Grove. A sizable crowd had already gathered in anticipation of the proceedings — one thing I love about this town is the level of support for local music. There were a ton of familiar faces, and plenty members of bands not on Wednesday’s roster there to hearten the day’s acts. I staked out the area, weighing angles of attack for the stage, proximity to the beverage area and social space and found myself flittering about greeting people I rarely see in the daylight.
Just as I settled into a comfortable zone with a little sangria courtesy of LITM, Higgins took the stage. The Weehawken/NYC-based band has a really anachronistic style, a fusion of mid-60s rock ‘n’ roll coupled with mid-70s funk, sort of like the Beatles with Parliament Funkadelic. They definitely put the groove into Groove on Grove. Maybe it was gray out but I was feeling very Mr. Blue Sky.
In between sets as I wandered about, I ran into Larry. We chatted about the Kentucky Derby, our shared midwestern roots (he’s from Kansas, I’m from Ohio) and our love for bourbon and comics. He even bought me a pina colada from Hard Grove Cafe during our conversation. However, we were cut short when he mustered up the usual flimsy excuse — something along the lines of, “My band is about to start up!” — and rushed over to the stage. I didn’t want to put him into one of those socially awkward situations and call him out, so I pretended to buy his story.
Seriously though, Larry is Larry Brinkman, one of three guitarist/vocalists for Jersey City country-rock quintet Any Day Parade. It was good to see some local talent take the stage on the first day of Groove on Grove. Any Day Parade’s lineup is rounded out by Tree and J.D. Daly, the other two vocalist/guitarists, and the Chucks in the rhythm section on bass and drums (Daly and Richard respectively). They got going and Sucso motioned everyone to move on up, so we made like the Jeffersons and did just that. Wednesday was my fifth or sixth time seeing the band since February, and they seem to get more on point each time. They cruised through their set, which included a drum solo by Chuck that was nothing short of spectacular, and even had time for a “band meeting.”
Just as soon as Groove on Grove was kicking into high gear, it was over, and the crowd slowly and reluctantly dispersed. There I was, left standing around with a half-melted Pina Colada and a camera full of great pictures. I yakked with some local Twitterers who had clued me into their presence (@RockerTycoon), snagged one of the last of LITM’s Soft Shell Crab Sliders and made my way home to decompress, download and dissect the rest of my night.
For a full Groove on Grove schedule, click here.