Friday, October 9, 2009
Often, when the subject of music from New Jersey is broached Bruce Springsteen and Bon Jovi are the first that come to mind. Now despite incessant mix tape lobbying and countless late night BLIP sessions the band that come to my mind first is the Wrens. Formed in 1989, the group consists of Charles Bissell, Greg Whelan, Kevin Whelan, and Jerry MacDonald. Their debut album Silver was released in 1994. Plagued by numerous label problems throughout the 1990s, the band was unable to release an album for many years after 1996's Secaucus. The quartet's excellent third offering, The Meadowlands, finally surfaced in late 2003 on Absolutely Kosher.
So, not quite the prolific songsmiths their fellow 'Garden Statesmen' are, a celebratory spirit at least remains firmly in place. Word now that Hoboken’s finest will celebrate twenty years together (more or less) with a series of shows at Maxwell’s December 3rd and 4th in Hoboken, NJ. The performances coincide with bassist Kevin Whelan’s 40th birthday, in what the band is calling via their website a “20th anniversary/mirthday shindig,” Not many bands refer to their web portal as an electronic ghost town but with the Wrens it seems only fitting. Their proudly sardonic declaration “Keeping folks waiting since 1989” one of the best band taglines I have ever seen.
“Mirthday shindigs” aside, the waiting for the next record might not be going on too much longer as there has been sporadic evidence the band has convened in Whelan’s basement to record new material. The band is also promising the second set of the last show at Maxwell’s will showcase all new material. For the early show that same night, they’ll play The Meadowlands in its entirety. The show’s set-list for the first show on December 3rd will be old songs chosen by fans.
Hmmm, I think its high time I took another New York vacation…