Tag Archives: Joseph Michelini

Green River Ordinance Rocks Orlando

Green River Ordinance at Social Orlando
Green River Ordinance at Social Orlando

From the dramatic a cappella opening of “Dark Night” to their final acoustic version of “Learning” performed unplugged on the floor amidst their fans, Green River Ordinance provided an entertaining show to their Central Florida fan base at The Social.

Their robust set prominently featured cuts from their excellent 2012 release Under Fire (see our review here), as well as other selections spanning their decade long career.  The polished quintet out of Fort Worth, Texas was making their long awaited return to Orlando, and played to a fairly full room.

The cozy Social stage was packed with a nice assortment of the band’s lighting, a second drum kit, and a slew of guitars.  The sound and lights were excellent throughout the evening, definitely a nice set-up for the room. These guys are seasoned professionals. Lead singer Josh Jenkins split his time between guitar and keyboards throughout the show and was in great voice all night.  The entire band, including brothers Jamey (guitar) and Geoff (bass) Ice is talented, and they play off of each other incredibly well – it’s a nice benefit of playing together for so many years.

Despite not playing Orlando in years, GRO drew a nice diverse crowd, most of whom were singing along to all of the band’s offerings.  Jenkins is an engaging front man, who interacted with the fans all evening and often implored them to join in the singing, which they did gladly, particularly on “Healing Touch” and “On Your Own.”

“Love Laid Down” was the highlight of the night.  The strong rocker started off by weaving in a nice version of “Amazing Grace,” featured Jamey Ice playing a sweet mandolin, and included a fantastic brief two man drum solo with drummer Denton Hunker and guitarist Joshua Wilkerson. It was a great spotlight on the breadth of talent in the band in a rare song that is both powerful and tender – great stuff!

Other highlights included “Outside” which was one of the night’s most powerful rockers, “Endlessly” another beautiful mandolin song that featured a nice singalong, and a rollicking version of “With A Little Help From My Friends.”  The latter, appropriately featured the band pulling their talented opening act Nathan Angelo onto the stage to help out.

They closed the night with a nice touch, eschewing a cheesy encore and instead unplugging their equipment, jumping off of the stage into the crowd and offering up a totally unplugged version of “Learning” on the floor in the middle of their fans.  It was a great way to end a nice night with these lads from Texas.

(see the full setlist at the bottom of the article)

Rock On!
Cretin




Set List
Dark Night
Crawling
Goodbye L.A.
Resting Hour
Outside
Where the West Wind BLows
Healing Touch
Love Laid Down
New Day
On Your Own
A Little Help From My Friends
Endlessly
Heart of Me
Under Fire
Dancing Shoes
Come On
Learning

RCE – Don’t Let The Sun Go Down on Your Anger

SMS Audio LLC

You can’t go more than a few minutes on any Alternative rock station without hearing the latest folk rock band and their twist on Indie-Americana. So much of today’s music blends together, post-Mumford and Sons malaise, but the latest release from River City Extension, Don’t Let The Sun Go Down on Your Anger truly stands out.  I’m guessing it never reaches the heights of Sigh No More, but it should, as it’s better and deeper.

The second release from this talented octet out of New Jersey is a musical and lyrical journey well worth a listen or two (or twelve). It’s an album packed with original sounds and with each listen a different track stands out.

Joe Michelini, the band’s singer and guitarist is the primary songwriter and he takes us through a varied collection of memories. He offers: “Half of this record is love songs, and the other half is ‘I’m sorry that I fucked up’ songs,” and he writes about both in a compelling way.

The album kicks off with Glastonbury,” a beautiful song that ebbs and flows magnificently as it builds up from a stripped down start to the full eight piece ensemble, then ultimately winds down with just Michelini on guitar and vocals. It’s a microcosm of the album and a good preview for what’s in store for the next sixty minutes.  Michelini’s vocals are damn near perfect, and showcase his broad range, both on the opener and throughout.  On “If You Need Me Back in Brooklyn” we hear a nice boy/girl duet with Sam Tacon, but for most of the album it’s all Michelini expertly carrying the vocals.

The musicians accompanying Michelini are quite talented, and the diversity of instruments offered is musical bliss. With superb production, we hear all eight musicians blend together perfectly, nicely highlighting each of the various instruments without overloading our senses.  Mike Costaney on drums and percussion offers an amazingly creative approach which is an absolute highlight of the album. Jenn Fantaccione’s cello is a refreshing change.  The cello is an under-utilized instrument in the rock world, but as River City Extension proves, there’s a definite place for it.  It was refreshing to hear, and one of the features that sets this band apart. You’ll also hear mandolin, trumpet, banjo, piano, melaphone and so much more – a feast for the ears.

There are a few cuts on the album that absolutely scream out for airplay.  Hopefully, we’ll be hearing tracks like “Welcome to Pittsburgh,” “Down, Down, Down” and “Point of Surrender” gracing the airwaves at some point in the future.

My two personal favorites highlight the diversity of the band, “Ballad of Oregon” is a fantastic introspective tune that spotlights all of the band members as it travels through Michelini’s troubled search for love; and “Lord I Have Changed” which is a stark introspective peek into Michelini’s past with him accompanied solely by Costantey’s drums, an interesting conclusion to an excellent album.

Don’t let this excellent new album pass you by, pick it up and give it a few spins. You’ll be happy to have found this Alt-Americana gem.

Rock on – Cretin

Related Story: River City Extension Live in Orlando

River City Extension. Photo credit: Danny Clinch
River City Extension. Photo credit: Danny Clinch

River City Extension Rocks Orlando

River City Extension LiveRiver City Extension Live at The Social

Earlier this week, I had one of those moments that all rock music fans covet. I was out at a venue reviewing one band and stumbled across another act on the bill that really caught my attention. I was out at The Social in Orlando checking out The Drowning Men, who were great in their own right (see the review here) when I had the pleasure of catching the dynamic eight piece River City Extension.

The octet out of New Jersey crammed onto the small stage and delivered an energetic and diverse set that I would best classify as a creative merging of Mumford and Sons and Gogol Bordello! It might sound unusual, but they pull it off magnificently. Over the course of the night, the six men and two women traded off among fifteen different instruments, providing quite the aural feast. At different times, they featured two drummers, two banjo players, violin, trumpet, mandolin and more; a welcome diversion from much of the cookie cutter stuff dominating the airwaves these days.

Led by front man Joe Michelini, the band focused their set on music from their excellent new release Don’t Let the Sun Go Down On Your Anger. I spoke to Michelini briefly after the set and asked him how he would classify their brand of rock.   There’s no easy classification, which is part of the beauty to their unique sound. We settled on Alt-Americana, but you can check out the link below and make your own judgment.

They kicked off the show with “Glastonbury,” the opening track off of the album and followed that up with nine other cuts from the new album as well as a few selections from their two prior releases.

“Welcome to Pittsburgh” was an early highlight. The track has a beautiful, optimistic feel to it, as Michelini shows off his broad vocal range.  The most impressive features of the song were Nicole Scorsone on violin and Dan Melius on trumpet! The violin absolutely powers the song and Melius also contributes some fantastic trumpet work.  Good stuff!

“Point of Surrender” and “Ballad of Oregon” were two other songs of the same vein that were crowd-pleasing favorites.

This band is quite diverse and they showed off their versatility all night. Other highlights included “Slander,” a poignant tune in the vein of classic rock, “Our New Intelligence” a nice boy/girl duet, and the stark “Standing Outside in a Southern Riot” which featured Michelini and vocalist Samantha Tacon alone on stage.

It was a great introduction to a talented band that we should be hearing much more from in the years ahead.

Rock On – Cretin

Setlist

Glastonbury
There & Back Again
Welcome To Pittsburgh
Our New Intelligence
Point of Surrender
Standing Outside a Southern Riot
If You Need Me Back In Brooklyn
Slander
Nautical Sabbatical
Ballad of Oregon
Everything West of Home
Something Salty, Something Sweet