On Friday, January 26, I had the pleasure of attending a concert at BoonTunes in downtown Boonton, New Jersey. This small, inviting venue is known for featuring and supporting local talent in the North/Central Jersey area. Friday’s lineup consisted of the artists: John Cozz, Decoration, Sister Munch, and Tula Vera.

          The first performer, John Cozz, was just a man and his guitar. Native to Nutley, New Jersey, he described himself as an “awkward guy,” but there was something charming about his lyrics and their delivery. Think The Front Bottoms, but just a little rougher around the edges. He did not really possess a clear singing technique or strong skill, but the lyrics were heartfelt, thought-provoking, and even humorous at times. Their topics ranged from feeling alone even with a partner to the corruption of law enforcement. John just had something pure about his performance. It just seemed so simple and personal.

          Next up was Decoration. This three-piece rock band from New Brunswick, New Jersey really brought late 90s garage rock mixed with modern pop-punk into this venue. They had energy, excitement, and they seemed really jazzed performing at their first BoonTunes show. Their music was grungy and moody, which is perfect for my angsty college self. Decoration really transported the audience to a straightforward garage show in the best way. The lyrics sounded a lot like unclear, plaintive wails, but it totally works for the genre.

          The following band was Sister Munch. Oh, Sister Munch. This female-fronted group based out of Brooklyn, New York burst with rage for which I was not ready. I have only heard people sound that angry in bad traffic. This band had high energy, fury, and boldness coming out the wazoo. The singing style was quite interesting. I would not consider it screamo as much as just yelling, but that fits perfectly in the punk, post-hardcore world. I can totally respect it as an art form. The drum parts were actually quite complex, and they switched up quite often during each song. They were probably more complicated than the guitar parts, which made for a different yet engaging listening experience. The words were pretty indecipherable, but I think the emotion they evoked was more important. The lead singer got off the small platform of the stage to get even more up close and personal with the audience, which took me by surprise, but I liked the abrasive nature of the performance. Also, if you need any more details for what kind of band this was, their last song was called “Dumpster Diving for Dildos.” If you like riot grrrl, you will probably like Sister Munch.

          Lastly, there was Tula Vera, the band that organized the show. As I expected, I was completely captivated by their performance. Tula Vera, hailing from Montclair, New Jersey, mesh classic rock with garage rock and indie punk while bringing an amazing level of sophistication to their compositions. The use of pedals was incredible; their ability to recreate their record on stage illustrates their insane talent. The vocalist’s style of singing is both sassy and sweet, with a dash of grit that adds so much personality to their music. The guitar parts were out of this world, both lead and rhythm. The bass parts were not just throwaway notes just to round out the sound; they had meaning behind them and played their own role. Also, the drums never faded into the background because they very clearly drove everything else in the ensemble. The chemistry of the members was apparent, and it made watching them all the more enjoyable. They are obviously just a group of friends doing what they love.

          This eclectic mix of bands made for a highly entertaining show. From punk to indie, all four acts gave this performance their all, and they brought a remarkable amount of talent to the stage. Click on the links below to check out some of their music if you haven’t already. John Cozz Decoration Sister Munch Tula Vera