New York City’s Gramercy Theatre hosted a varied guest list of celebrities and super-fans last Friday, March 11. As my modest group of friends and I arrived at the venue, a line that bends around the corner and down the block comes into view. We take our places at the end of the line, where we’re informed that some overeager fans have been in place since midnight. We rolled our eyes; we didn’t think it was that kind of concert.
Ocean Grove is comprised of John Taylor, Greg Garbowsky, Jack Lawless, and Ryan Leistman, so it’s no wonder that the line boasted teenage girls holding signs proclaiming declarations like “Marry Me, Jack!”
Taylor, Garbowsky, Lawless and Leistman formed their own pop-rock project during a year-long hiatus from playing backup for the Jonas Brothers.
But it’s clear–maybe not from the crowd they appeal to–but from the opening act, that the cheesy pop lyrics and guitar riffs that may make up the Jonas trio’s mainstream sound is not a theme here.
First, The Prigs come onstage dressed outlandishly, wearing everything from a superhero cape to cuffed-up trousers and high socks, to a full-facial mask. Armed with two trumpets, several confetti guns, and Four Lokos, The Prigs killed it–I even wondered if they were merely the opening act or the headliner.
video credit: Ocean Grove
But my doubts were put at ease once Ocean Grove took the stage.
Taylor stumbled through several technical difficulties and looked as though he forgot the words at one point. But for their second show ever, the material was fantastic. And while the presentation lacked the energy and precision previously delivered by The Prigs, it was forgivable.
The highlight of the show was when Ocean Grove invited The Prigs to join them on stage for an epic dual-band finale, which again resulted in the firing of confetti guns.
The concert was devoid of straightforward Jo-Bro references and covers, but it wasn’t entirely Jonas-free. From our balcony seats, I spied three Jonai: Joe, Kevin, and his wife Danielle backstage, who all looked on proudly and snapped photos on their cell phones (later uploaded to Twitter).
Not only did Ocean Grove retain the strong Jonas fan-base, but it’s encouraging to know they also received the support of the brothers.
Perhaps it was the already established fan-base that helped the Ocean Grove men completely sell out their first two shows. But it’s safe to say it will be the quality of their music that keeps and gains the band such dedicated fans.
Their first EP, “Little Record,” was released Feb. 15 and is currently available on iTunes.
Photo credit: Stephanie Osmanski