Live Review

The Palace in Bound Brook New Jersey

By Marcus Pan & Knightmare

Pan's Story:
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 district.

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 the evening…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 16…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 lights…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…not their 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 article anyway.

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 programming did…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.

Knightmare's story:
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 screen.

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 afterwards.

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…bummer.