Note: This show has been moved to March 7 because of the inclement weather on its original date, Feb. 21.
The Rock ‘n’ Joe coffeeshop in Millburn lives up to its name by frequently hosting live musical performances, including the monthly Saturday Afternoon Song Swap, which showcases top New Jersey singer-songwriters in an intimate acoustic setting. This month’s Swap, taking place Saturday at 4:30 p.m., features two members of one of the most influential alt-rock bands New Jersey ever has produced — Glenn Mercer and Dave Weckerman of The Feelies — along with Michael Carlucci, formerly of Winter Hours, and Matthew Davis of The Thousand Pities.
It’s a free show, as are all the shows in this series, which is co-hosted by Deena Shoshkes of The Cucumbers, and Rebecca Turner. They also co-founded the series in 2008, though it was originally based in a different venue.
Davis — who lives in Montclair, and is best known for fronting the Massachusetts band The Vestrymen in the late ’80s and early ’90s — says this show will probably be more collaborative that most in the Song Swap series, just because the performers know each other so well. (Carlucci has played in both The Thousand Pities, with Davis, and East of Venus, with Mercer, and all have performed together in Song Swap-style shows before.)
That means, among other things, that Davis gets to contribute to songs such as The Feelies’ “Let’s Go” and Winter Hours’ “Hyacinth Girl,” both of which were in heavy rotation on his college radio station when he was a student in the mid-’80s. “It is a huge thrill for me to sing and play on those songs,” he says.
“Let’s Go” is from The Feelies’ 1986 album The Good Earth, a seminal record for Davis as well as countless other musicians of his generation. Asked what appealed to him about it, he says: “It was the warmth of the acoustic feel of that record. … I was listening to a lot of Echo and the Bunnymen and The Cure (at that time), and for American bands it was certainly the Replacements and Hüsker Dü. But the warmth of The Good Earth … it was very different.”
Winter Hours, formed in Lyndhurst in 1983, broke up in 1983, and frontman Joe Marques died in 2003. But in 2009, many of their friends and admirers contributed to a two-CD tribute, A Few Uneven Rhymes. East of Venus appeared on the album, as did the Feelies side project Yung Wu and Davis’ Parkway Charlies band.
For information about Saturday’s show, click here.