The Palace in Bound Brook New Jersey
By Marcus Pan & Knightmare
We headed out about quarter to six
that Sunday, Knightmare and I, off to check out a new opening in Bound Brook. A
small club by the name of The Palace. As far as I know, this club is fairly
new. They were holding a goth/industrial night that particular evening and
having nothing to do, with the rest of the family off to a bridal type of party
thing, I figured we'd swing by and check it out. We found The Palace by the
light of it's ungothly blue sign out front, nestled comfortably between the
Spanish named shops and chic Italian restaurants in Bound Brook's tiny business
Inside, you rise a wide staircase to the second floor. You
pay the lady behind the window and get ushered through a hanging silk cloth
that obscures the innards of the club. The inside of the club is a room. Yes,
one room. Fairly big room, but still one room with a few spotty furnishings
here and there and a snack bar in the back that sells nothing I'd ever be
interested in (no alcohol). And lets not forget the congregated club goers of
it suddenly became apparent why goth night here ended at ten.
Along the sides of the room where the aforementioned spotty furnishings sat
were the misfits of the surrounding school yards. Median age seemed to be about
and that's after factoring in Knightmare and I. You haven't seen a
trendy until you've seen what stalked the room of this club
let's just say
that girls who have yet to develop a chest should NOT be wearing fishnets. And
there was, quite literally, a five year old running through the club
I kid you not. I dare not start stomping for fear of shortening the
little tyke even more.
The night turned out to be live rather than DJed. This,
however, was a bad thing for the most part. The first band up, a couple of
teeny boppers who somehow consider themselves a punk band, bore the name "The
Discontinued." I do not believe anyone who can move their hand fast on a guitar
and yell things are immediately granted any form of musical talent. I learned
that "The Discontinued" was unfortunately the band's name
description as I had first hoped. Any band that can stand on a stage and sing a
song that they admittedly don't know the words to (they were asking for
volunteer singers) doesn't deserve so much as a second thought. Oh, and someone
tell the drummer there's more to life than cymbals.
The second band up went by the name of an assault rifle from
West Germany; "G-11" they were called. More on the industrial side rather than
the pre-pubescent punk that took the stage before them, it was quite obvious
that this would at least be somewhat interesting when they rolled the "electric
shopping cart" onto the stage. No, really
again I kid you not. Next came
the "electronic tin drum." These were their instruments. Blonde, glasses
wearing & olive-jacketed Pete Maenner is the leader of this troupe from the
Trenton area of Jersey. Pete seems an interesting character, even pulled off a
Jourgensen-Ogre type of sound. It isn't a danceable type of music so don't
expect to be able to stomp much to it
but the five year old running
through the lights pretty much canned that idea as we saw earlier in this
G-11's sound is a type of controlled noise, a barrage of
sound and vox vocals that is mixed with samples and smashing tin drums and
shopping carts. Yes, really
and they pull it off fairly well. Pete's key
samples sound familiar, almost from-other-song familiar, but I could be
completely wrong (and hope this is so). But they were interesting and decent
enough to get me to pick up their demo tape, "Nationalism," for a listen later.
They didn't seem as tightly knit on stage as I'm expecting from the tape,
though I haven't listened to it yet. My feelings that it sounds better on tape
stems from the fact that on the tape Pete is the only one listed as G-11. I'm
hoping this is so, as his style seems very interesting and the lyrics he has
written to go along with his industrial sound is well laid out and flows
smoothly. Unfortunately, on stage it is hard to enjoy the lyrics. Partly
because music generally doesn't sound as good live as it does on tape where you
can edit and arrange to your heart's content, but mostly from the other two who
joined him on stage to bang things. The guy wasn't so bad. His job was to bang
on the tin drum, hooked up with pick-ups galore that unleashed a volley of
crashing sound when struck. His only function seemed to be the rising of
whatever drum beats came out of Pete's keyboard to phenomenal, and usually
annoying, heights. But he did his function well, smashing the drum with the 10
MPH Speed Limit sign propped up in front and pretty much did everything the
only louder. In addition to him, there was the girl in the
back of the stage as well. Her function also seemed to provide various barrages
of beat-noise by whacking the bejeezus out of the shopping cart and other metal
trinkets strewn around on the floor at her feet. The problem with her, however,
was a rhythm one. She didn't have any, so it seemed, and I could tell where she
would continue with one too many smacks of the cart or suddenly realize there
should be a kick here and come in late. Pete Maenner has a good vision,
hard-hitting lyrics from songs like "Progress," "Nationalism" and "Politician"
and is able to pull off the programming to sound good enough to be on stage.
But the other members of G-11, the live troupe so it seems, tends to bring him
down somewhat; adding unnecessary noise and huge smashing beats and breaking up
the rhythm with badly-beaten carts. However, if you're a fan of eclectic
industrial music along the lines of "Skinny Puppy" or older "Ministry" (though
a bit harder and harsher at times), you should check out G-11 if you can. Just
don't do it at the Palace.
We left after G-11 got off stage, but not after I spoke to
Pete long enough to arrange an upcoming interview for Legends Magazine. And I
hope to take a closer look at what I hope to be a more tight-knit sound on his
demo tape, "Nationalism," shortly. So look ahead. For information on G-11: Pete
Maenner; 13 Charles Way; Trenton, NJ, 08609.
Knowing it was an "all-ages"
event, I figured there wasn't gonna be any beer and having bar-hopped around
the area for years I didn't recall any "Palace" so I was confused when I pulled
up next to my favorite lunch-time diner. "Funny," I said to Pan, "That wasn't
there last week." When we walked in and I almost tripped over the 8-year-old, I
realized just what "all-ages" meant. I had anticipated some 18-20 year olds. 8
year olds? At least they didn't seem as out of place as the barely pubescent
young lady in the fishnets . . .
The first act was "The Discontinued." Unfortunately, they
weren't. Enough said.
The next act was G-11. Coming from a military background, a
group named after an assault rifle piqued my interest somewhat. Now assault
rifles aren't usually a humorous subject, but Pan and I were in stitches by the
time they were done setting up the Electric Shopping Cart and the 55-Gallon
Electronic Timpani. Oh, and the IBM monitor with the silver duct tape
When the blond teen-ager in an olive drab field jacket with
division patch and an upside-down American flag safety-pinned to the sleeve
announced the first song as a diatribe on the "disease of every modern nation,"
Nationalism, I knew the kid had a whole lot of world and life to see yet. I
reserved comment though, partly because I was unarmed and partly because I
wanted to see how the shopping cart sounded. As Pan said, the keyboard samples
sounded pretty decent, but vaguely familiar. The guy with the kettle drum did a
decent job of mimicking all the bass beats in the sample, but that was all he
did. He at least had rhythm. The young sports-bra clad lady on the electric
shopping cart (and as it turns out, a few other objects on the floor) had none.
I guess it was fortunate the pickups they'd taped to the shopping cart weren't
picking up too well. I guess everyone in their day has seen the band-member's
girlfriend who gets a spot in a band because she's a girlfriend and not because
she has anything remotely resembling talent. She was it.
They finished off their last song and we figured out what
the old monitor was for; he beat it to pieces with a wrench. I guess every
young band goes through its, "Hey. Let's destroy things and shock the audience
'cause it worked for The Who." Phase. It was so old a shtick that it didn't
shock us, and it wasn't quite laughable until you saw him sweeping it up
Overall I thought it wasn't too bad, as long as you got rid
of Drum-boy and the Cart Girl, who at this time were locked in too tight a kiss
to think about clearing the stage for the next band. The singer was still
sweeping up pieces of the dead IBM and Pan wandered over to a table to pick up,
for $2.00, one of their tapes and talk to the kid about an interview for
Legends. To my surprise the liner notes at least let me know they knew
something about the weapon whose name they were using, but of course those
youthful political views got in the way again.
So if Pete, as we learned his name was, replaces the Drummer
and "Cart-ist," and can concentrate on his music and not his view of the world
(at least until he's seen some of it) there may be hope.
The third band up promised to be more punk, according to the
flier passed out by another pimply-faced young lady. We hadn't really come to
see punk, and we were getting tired of dodging the 8-year-olds in their
"glow-bracelets" (a buck a piece at the snack bar behind us) so we left before
they came on at around 8:30.
A good portion of the crowd was leaving too, probably
because it was getting close to their bedtimes . . .
"The Palace" - Awarded 2 out of 5 skullz