The first time I ever heard Gates is an amusing story in itself. It was about this time last year that the legendary post-hardcore/rock band Rival Schools (which I am a huge fan of) was doing a reunion tour with a string of more intimate dates at smaller venues. One of these venues was this shitty yet charming dive bar in New Brunswick, NJ called The Court Tavern where I have seen a slew of awesome bands perform before. So my girlfriend and I decided to make the trek down to the college town looking forward to a fun night ahead of us filled with great music, cheap drinks, and giant Grease Truck sandwiches.
We arrived and settled in by having a few pitchers of Rolling Rock, then made our way downstairs into the Venue past a very jaded and weathered troll of a doorman. Gates opened this show and totally blew me away with their unique sound and tightness for such a fledgling band. Rival Schools were supposed to take the stage shortly after, but waited a good thirty minutes for their singer to even arrive at the show. It was his birthday this particular night, and he had been busy celebrating while his band had been setting up to perform. He finally made his way through the crowd taking the stage inebriated out of his mind, and played one of the most disheartening sets I had ever seen. Here was this band that I was so excited to have an opportunity to see again, and before me stood this cocky drunken douchebag that was singing and playing guitar extremely sloppy and was receiving death glares from the rest of his embarrassed bandmates. About halfway through their set, my girlfriend grabbed my arm and said, “I’ll be upstairs” which I translated as, “Lets get the fuck out of here” and I couldn’t have agreed with her more.
On the car ride home, we both discussed how that show would’ve been a complete disaster if it hadn’t been for the opening band Gates. Once we arrived home, we downloaded their debut ep, “The Sun Will Rise and Lead Me Home” off of their website for free and were sold on the sincerity and great songwriting that came through the speakers. Gates is a band that plays a type of ambient/indie rock that can be compared to bands such as Explosions in the Sky or even Thursday’s earlier work, but show more influence from these artists than from mimicking them and create a trademark sound in the process that is entirely their own. Atmospheric and progressive guitar lines, driving low-end bass, precision drumming, and heartfelt vocals create a musical tapestry that sets the backdrop for this albums lyrical content told from the disposition of a broken man. The brevity of this ep leaves the listener craving more, and looking positively toward the bright future of this small band from New Jersey.
Gates “The Sun Will Rise and Lead Me Home” is a great reminder that Independent music is alive and well. You can follow this artist through their Facebook, purchase or download the entire record for free through their website, or listen to a track below:
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