Blue skies and hypnotic beats were only part of the draw at the Lackawanna Music Fest, which rocked Pier A on Saturday, August 18.
The day was alive with sights and sounds that included a family fun area including the popular NJ Devils hockey area, a vendor’s village, and an authentic biergarten by the Pilsner Haus & Biergarten in Hoboken.
The event was hosted by the charismatic Matt Pinfield of MTV fame and included performances by seven stellar acts such as the acclaimed Tokyo Police Club. Pinfield says the whole day was memorable. “It was a great atmosphere with really great music and a great backdrop. You could bring your whole family. It was a really good vibe all day long,” he said. “I loved the entire day and I look forward to doing it next year.”
Dave Quon, lead singer of the Brooklyn-based We Barbarians, got things going in the afternoon. The band has just finished recording an album and this was the second show for them since they got back from the studio in Nashville.
“It was fun to get back to it,” said Dave. “I think you put so many hours into writing music. The payoff is to play before a live audience. It’s good to feed off the live energy of a crowd.”
This was the first time We Barbarians played in Hoboken, although Dave has been to town before.
“It’s an insane setting for a little festival,” said Dave, who added that he was personally glad he could spend time with members of Tokyo Police Club, a band he has toured with before.
Members of Tokyo Police Club came to the festival early, even though they were the night’s headlining act. The guys relaxed in the biergarten before playing, which offered great sight lines to the stage. The band is not new to the Mile Square, having performed a few shows at legendary Maxwell’s.
“I love it here. I’ve always loved it here,” said Graham Wright, keyboardist for Tokyo Police Club. “We’ve never explored [Hoboken] as much as we have today. The sun is going down – you can’t ask for anything more.”
Tokyo Police Club’s guitarist Josh Hook says that with every live performance you can see how far your music has come.
“It’s good to see people respond to the songs,” said Hook.
Graham takes a pragmatic approach to performing. When asked if he has any rituals that he does before a live show, he said he did when the band first started:
“But then I decided it was a bad idea, because if I [messed] it up there would be repercussions, so I purposely started messing it up,” he said.
Josh however says it’s important for him to walk out to the stage to touch the equipment before a set.
“I like to have some interaction with what is going on – not just walking out like a rock star,” said Josh.
But the most important thing of course is for fans to have fun.
“It comes down to this. We’re having a good time and it shows,” says Josh.
“I’m not out to change people’s lives,” said Graham. “We want them to have a good time.”
Clearly the fans were appreciative of the energetic music by Tokyo Police Club. Fans screamed for an encore when they wrapped up the set. And they weren’t disappointed as the band played two more songs to cap off the night.
The free music festival was the third annual festival sponsored by hMAG. Other sponsors included Ben & Jerry’s, GBX, The NJ Devils, Yelp, The Prudential Center, and The Daily News.
Photos by Krista Kelly and Cezare Ramone.