90.3 Corefest rocks College Avenue Student Center


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The Rutgers radio station, 90.3 The Core, hosted a night of music, fun and free CDs in a pre-Corefest teaser that showcased four local bands last Saturday night at the College Avenue Student Center. 

Fiscal Cliff, an always-impressive “indie fresh” quartet, an upbeat Jersey City-based group named Hong Kong Graffiti, Sistine, an unapologetically loud, emo group that shook up the student center and Sink Tapes, a classic NBNJ alternative band, all delivered amazing performances that got us excited for the stations’ day-long music festival in April.

The show’s focus was on giving local bands exposure, and was organized by 90.3 The Core DJ, Jason Mallonga. Students saw what was in store for the Rutgers music scene later in the spring semester at Corefest, an annual music festival being held on Cook campus this year. So, with great anticipation for The Core's biggest event of the year, the night began.

Whenever Fiscal Cliff gets on stage, you can expect the very best of what college basement music scenes have to offer, and of course Saturday was no exception. It was all crowd favorites and their trademarked excellence. From Fiscal Cliff’s first power chords, everyone in the Red Lion Lounge knew they were about to hear an exceptionally talented group and finely-tuned set list.

After the set, the band boasted about their inclusive and democratic writing process, which isn’t surprising because their group's chemistry is obvious on stage and off. When asked to describe their sound, Carlos Bustillo, guitarist and vocals, said it was ambiguous because everyone in the band brings their own styles to each song. 

Make sure you catch Fiscal Cliff while they’re still playing free events at the student center and basement shows, because you’ll be paying big bucks to see them play in a few years — maybe bassist Micah Prussack will still be pitching his Western-themed music video idea.

Hong Kong Graffiti was the youngest band rocking the student center, with two of its members still in high school — but don’t make the mistake of underestimating their talents. HKG has already put out an EP that was mixed and mastered by Kyosuke Nonoyama, lead vocalist, guitarist and the group’s charismatic front man. 

The boys’ sometimes jazz-like, sometimes rock-like, sometimes pop-punk style will make you reevaluate how diverse one band’s discography can be. No doubt their catchy songs popped into your head the next morning, but the real treat from the band was the new song they teased us with, “Prophet on a Bike.” Hopefully we’ll see it on HKG’s next album, a full-length to be released in the fall and the first album with new bassist Dan Connolly.  

Following HKG was Sistine, a heavy emo band that changed the pace for the night. Sistine only released its debut album last October but has already made a huge impact on the music scene here. And how could the band not, when their sound was unlike any other band that played last Saturday? Their set was one that demanded to be heard and featured new songs and old-fan favorites. Sistine’s tracks are head-banging-ready and will make you want to follow their currently, very active tour schedule.

Closing the show, Sink Tapes serenaded audiences with its own spin on alternative music. Sink Tapes was the most accomplished band at the show on Saturday, and is already signed to a record label. The four-piece set has released three full-length albums and three singles last year alone, according to their website, which also hinted 2016 would be no different. Sink Tapes’ music is hypnotic, an elegant balance of classic rock formulas mixed with the boys’ own flare. When you think of Sink Tapes, think of them as the future The Maine — in terms of both sound and potential.

Now the only question is: Will one of these bands clench the final band slot at Corefest?


Brittany Gibson

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