Jersey Invasion: Fanclub Brings New Brunswick to Ithaca

Though Ithaca has a thriving basement scene, the undisputed DIY capital of the U.S. is another college town: New Brunswick, N.J. Advantageously situated within an hour of NYC, the scene attracts alternative acts from across the globe, and has spawned an impressive number of punk and indie bands, a small sample of whom found themselves on Saturday night, playing to a modest crown in the cozy, polychromatic basement of 660 Stewart. On their ninth day of touring, the bands were tired and apparently low on funds, but their spirits soared nonetheless, and each put on a high energy performance. The band originally set to open the show, Hoboken’s Rest Ashore, unfortunately had to cancel, but were replaced by Cornell’s own _____: an instrumental math-rock outfit with a name not meant to be pronounced. Jersey City’s Kadian Quartet followed, playing a progressive jazz-rock set, and though their music made them an outlier, both for the night and among the set of bands brought to campus by Fanclub Collective, they managed to be an audience favorite, generating eruptions of applause after each impressive piano and guitar breakdown. To those weary of what sometimes feels like the cookie-cutter DIY punk sound sported by so many of the bands brought to Ithaca by Fanclub and IU, the quartet came as a breath of fresh air.

GUEST ROOM| “It’s Not My Fault All the Good Musicians I Know Are Dudes”


The door swings and shuts with mute thumps, behind the hum of voices. People collect in groups, waiting, hands marked in Sharpie with Venus symbols. Old friends gather; strangers bump into each other in the intimate basement. Meanwhile, the bands’ soundchecks echo off the flaking paint and brick walls. Microphones vibrate, there’s tinkering with wires and volume knobs and finally a soft, murmuring is heard from the stage, “thank you to Fanclub Collective who brought us out tonight…” The crowd shifts with anticipation for an event which — although most people might not realize it — is quite radical: a concert with a totally female-fronted line-up.