Rock ‘n’ roll is alive and well in New Jersey – by Jonathan Lane

New Jersey is doing its part to keep kickass rock ‘n roll music alive, fresh and in front of music fans – recent proof: last month, three homegrown New Jersey bands filled the capacious Landis Theater with top tier original music and fresh takes on classics from the 70s to the present: Venture Out, The Dead Flowers, and As We Become Ghosts.

Written and Photography by Jonathan Lane

Venture Out
Venture Out wastes no time getting the multigenerational audience a-rockin’. Judging from the tight, competent music, rocking vocals, and confident stage presence, no one would guess this is the band’s first “official” live performance.

From their Spotify page: “Venture Out is a hard-hitting alternative rock band based in South Jersey, with a mix of powerful vocals against a heavy and (melodic) background.”

This opening set includes heartfelt vocals, tasteful guitar solos and bridges. “Elsewhere”, from the same-named 2023 EP, is a mournful ballad delivered with emotion and style.

Check out the band’s 2023 EP, “Elsewhere”, here:

Venture Out Photo Gallery below.

The Dead Flowers
Front man Zach Tyler sums it up pretty well in his intro: “We are The Dead Flowers and we play rock ‘n’ roll!” Formed in 2015, this versatile and skilled group out of South Jersey earned their chops and a following in New Brunswick, NJ, where they attended Rutgers. The current lineup includes founding members Zach (vocals, guitar), and John (drums), along with Ryan on guitar, Kevin on bass.

The evening’s set includes a series of original tunes, demonstrating their appreciation of the rockers on whose shoulders they stand, and their ability to make rock ‘n’ roll relevant in the 2020’s.

As of now, you’ll have to catch The Dead Flowers live (and this is highly recommended) to hear them nail a Rolling Stones cover, like tonight’s “Honky Tonk Woman” – or set the stage afire with a heartbreaking blues number. The set begins and ends with original tracks from 2022: The band warms the Landis up with the arena-worthy “The Taste” and closes with the rollicking “Keep it Together”.

Set List: The Dead Flowers

The Landis Theater, Vineland New Jersey, October 14, 2023

  • The Taste
  • She’s All Mine
  • (Untitled Fast Blues tune)
  • (Working title: Sabbath Song)
  • Wild Lost Children
  • Honky Tonk Woman
  • Keep it together

Check out music by The Dead Flowers:

The Dead Flowers Photo Gallery below.

As We Become Ghosts

Closing out the evening are talented and seasoned rockers, As We Become Ghosts (AWBG). As with the two very worthy openers, the music feels fresh, yet with the flavor of kickass rock music from the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s. The music is as instantly comfortable as your favorite pair of jeans.

The band members are: Mickey Ratt on lead vocals, guitar, keys; Alex Fysz – lead guitar and vocals; Steffan Greggor – bass, vocals and bass; Johnny Callan – drums.

In the band’s own words: “They are all here for an important purpose, and that’s to be the best they can be while bringing inspirational, powerful rock music to the world. They’ve come to tell stories of hardship and pain, while at the same time reminding you that there is always light at the end of the tunnel and that there is always hope.“

The set begins with “Overcome”, off AWBG’s self-titled 2023 album. It’s a medium-paced bluesy rocker that is a perfect segue from The Dead Flowers’ set. A wah-wah-charged guitar solo seals the deal. The balance of this 11-song set treats the crowd to a smorgasbord of soft, hard, wistful, hard-rocking, and funky music, including most tracks from the album. The band played out the “Ghosts” theme, closing  with a creative, rocking spin on the “Ghostbusters” theme song.

Set List: As We Become Ghosts

The Landis Theater, Vineland New Jersey, October 14, 2023

  • Overcome
  • Butterflies Fade
  • Trapped in The Echoes
  • The Run
  • Kingdom of Two
  • Say Goodbye
  • This Moment
  • Believe
  • The Last Time
  • Light It Up
  • Ghostbusters

Album: As We Become Ghosts (2023). Check out the album here:

Visit the band’s official website:

As We Become Ghosts Photo Gallery below.

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