Playing in a band can be, and usually is, filled with a range of emotions. There are certain highs like when the band plays an exhilarating set for a packed house and feels that special synergy between themselves and their audience. As a live performer, there may be no greater reward than energizing a crowd with a top notch performance. But then there are the lows, like when the band unexpectedly goes on an extended hiatus.
That was the case for Overmind, an Asbury Park area band that formed in 2010. The band, whose sound is a mélange of punk, reggae, and hip hop, last performed together over a half a decade ago. The five-year absence from being active musically was something that the group never planned and totally caught the band off guard. “We really thought that this was going to be something that kept going,” said vocalist Mike Muratore. “Our lives just took us in different directions, really by force.”
The Asbury Park quartet, who in addition to Muratore, features guitarist Joe Nulty, drummer Matt Hockenjos, and bassist Joe Aerts, began practicing mid-2016 with the goal of reuniting Overmind. “We made the decision to start practicing about six to eight months ago,” said Muratore. “At first, it was really where our lives were at now. We were a lot more accessible to each other.”
Overmind, whose lyrics are fueled with political and social commentary, were also inspired by the vitriolic political landscape that has developed in recent months. “We almost immediately realized the current political climate and that really fueled the fire to keep us active and together and really pushing forward,” said Muratore.
The band puts their money where their mouth is, literally. They conducted a 24-hour fundraiser and donated all the proceeds for every download of their track, “Change Today,” from the eponymously named four-song EP, to Planned Parenthood. On February 3, Overmind joined over 150 bands and labels by donating profits from their Bandcamp page to the ACLU and other organizations supporting immigration and refugee initiatives. The “Change Today” EP can be downloaded by visiting https://overmindnj.bandcamp.com/.
The old expression of good things come to those who wait may be appropriate when it comes to Overmind. The band’s long-anticipated return was nothing short of a success as an electrified sold-out crowd at The Saint in Asbury Park danced and sang along with the band’s anthems. Joined on the bill by Random Test, Andy Box, and Eastbourne, Overmind’s performance had positive and festive vibe to it, with Muratore emphatically thanking the audience for making the night so special before the band played its last song of the night.
Fans who couldn’t attend the January 27 concert shouldn’t worry that they’ll have to wait five years until the next show, though. “Tonight is definitely a re-launch,” said Muratore. “We’re back and trying to make things happen and be as active as possible.”
Update: Overmind recently announced their next show will be March 25th at the Brighton Bar in Long Branch with After The Burn, Jon Caspi & First Gun, Aristocants, and Bionic Monkey. Doors open at 8pm and admission is $8.
For more on Overmind, check out https://www.facebook.com/OvermindNJ.
Photos By Nick Herron https://www.facebook.com/massappealphotography