Keeping real music – and free music – alive

Keeping real music – and free music – alive
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If you’re busy saving up to see Dave Matthews at PNC Music Pavilion or Ciara at The Fillmore, carry on – but don’t forget about the free live music venues at your fingertips. Social etiquette only requires that said fingertips also be touching a drink. On April 2, at Crown Station Coffee House & Pub in Elizabeth, that meant coffee (Irish or traditional), or perhaps a red wine blend, or a PBR—it didn’t matter. There was music.

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The party-vibe-meets-rock-and-roll sounds by local band JaggerMouth shook the space just after midnight, following stand-up comedy by Nick Robinson and beats by Orange Crush, Black Costume and Banda Suki.

Bassist TJ Banks, who can often be found behind the counter of Common Market South End by day, joined musical forces with four others: vocalist Matt Wheeler, guitarist Nick Martinez (better known as “Jr.”), drummer Jake Porter and guitarist Nic Pugh. They may have day jobs, but by night, they have a mood to create. “It’s just everybody having a good time,” Banks said.

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That good time started two years ago when Pugh pulled the band together with other original members, using a friend’s garage as their recording space. He wrote their first EP, “Keeping It Contagious,” which conveys a free-spirited attitude. Pugh said the album is about “keeping the general vibe of rock and roll alive” in a generation whose sound waves are diluted by pop and hip-hop.

Pugh’s message as lead lyricist: “Keep real music alive. Keep real music contagious. Keep general thinking contagious. When you put on a record and you listen to a record all the way through and you think about all the words, listen to all the sounds, it puts you in a different spot.”

Good news. If you didn’t find your free spot at Crown Station for music and coffee (or wine or beer), you can catch JaggerMouth at Snug Harbor on May 30 for the release of their next CD: “Synthetic Me.” The album goes online June 1, with new cover art in the making by Kelly Keith. If you’re wondering: Snug Harbor has beer.

But don’t overlook the artistic angle of the evening. When the JaggerMouth members get together to record or perform, they focus on playing the type of music they enjoy, rather than trying to gauge audience preferences. “When you have five people in a room giving off those influences,” Pugh said, “it kind of creates its own little piece of artwork. That’s what this new album is.”

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