Trunk Rock Records Takes Over Webster Hall

Big Wilson River - Photo by Robin Scheibner

Big Wilson River - Photo by Robin ScheibnerOn Friday, May 4th, Trunk Rock Records, a North Jersey record company, headed to The Studio at Webster Hall in NYC with two of their bands, Big Wilson River and Don’t Upset the Bear. The goal was to  promote the company and represent NJ music, and with the help of Dwaine Harris of Big Mountain Entertainment, Jersey made itself good and known that night. Friday’s show proves that talented musicians who work hard can can expand beyond their home turf without getting lost in the shuffle.

The show had been planned for almost four months, and Trunk Rock was required to sell tickets before the show. This pay-to-play method can get a little tricky, since there’s always the risk that the sellers can’t get all of the tickets sold, and the bands end up playing at a loss. But Brian Englishman, CEO of Trunk Rock Records, knew that this show was a great opportunity for the company as well as the bands on their label, so that alone was motivation to work as hard as possible to sell every ticket. Eventually the pre-sale tickets sold out, and the house was packed.

Big Wilson River, first of the two Trunk Rock bands to perform, played a lilting, unrestrained set with their signature folk-gone-electric indie rock, inciting some intense enthusiasm from the audience. (Not surprising, since the thrash-folk band generally whips the room into a bit of a frenzy.) Darrin Bradbury, vocalist and rhythm guitarist, admits that the show went surprisingly well. “It was definitely a night of success, which is something we don’t get to say very often. Especially since we’d just lost our bass player, the fact that this show was so successful is motivation enough to keep up the hard work. I didn’t expect to have as much fun as I did at that show.” Big Wilson River will be building on that success with their album release show on June 30th at Asbury Lanes.

Don’t Upset the Bear followed next and flung their post-grunge folk rock at the audience, which promptly became a mass of dancing and jumping bodies. The people in the crowd were clearly fans of DUTB , chanting “Don’t upset the mother fucking bear!” between songs and prompting  the band to play “Dying Smile” at the end of their set by singing the hook to them. Darrin from Big Wilson River came from backstage to sing the final song with the band, and fans from the crowd jumped on stage to join them. After a of lot crowd surfing, the set culminated in people begging the band to play an encore. Brian Sullivan, bassist of Don’t Upset the Bear, lovingly wonders at the audience’s reaction.”Our fans are crazy. I don’t know how they handle coming to our shows, do what they do, and then function the rest of the night.”

In fact, the fan support is what really seems to propel the band and keep them moving forward. Trunk Rock is cognizant of the reality that fans are what make musicians successful, and co-founder Englishman is grateful for Friday’s appreciative audience. “It was a lot of hard work and we knew it was a great opportunity, but I think the real impact behind this show came from what it meant to our fans. We’ve always had a real great support from everyone and this really proved that it is still alive. We hadn’t had a big show like this in a while and it couldn’t have gone better. I can’t help but assume that we made a great impression on the people working at Webster Hall as well.”

Don't Upset The Bear - Photo by Robin ScheibnerBrian Sullivan adds, “There’s no way to tell what it would mean to either the band or the label professionally, but I’m sure I can speak for everyone when I say that it was the show to change how we look at everything that is Trunk Rock and DUTB.”

Other performances included Black Ghandi from Barcelona, Lisa Bianco from NYC, and Love Assassin from Glen Rock, NJ. Love Assassin, decked out in fancy suits, closed the show for the night. They gave Trunk Rock a shout-out, and sang “Fight for Your Right to Party,” a tribute to the recently deceased MCA from the Beastie Boys.


See more of Robin Scheibner’s photos from the show on the Lamplighter Facebook page!

About the Author

Nadia Nieves

Nadia NievesNadia Nieves is a founder and the Promotions Director for Lamplighter. She graduated with a BA in Psychology and is currently finishing her MA is Cognitive Neuroscience at The New School. She enjoys going to local shows and twerking in her car.View all posts by Nadia Nieves →